what is an assistant in nursing?

As an AIN (assistant in nursing), you take care of patients and help them with hygiene duties. Registered nurses give you patient care tasks to perform in order to assist patients. Your tasks could include obtaining and recording patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature. You also help patients shower, bathe and dress. If a patient has trouble with basic tasks, like eating or going to the toilet, you assist them.

When you work with patients with severe health conditions or those confined to a bed, you turn and reposition them to make them feel comfortable. You also aid in patient mobility, such as assisting them with moving from the bed to a wheelchair. Regardless of your duties, it is important to provide the best care and comfort to patients. You communicate with members of the healthcare team to address patient concerns and relay any changes in their medical condition.

Compared to other healthcare roles, your duties as an assistant in nursing are physically demanding and often strenuous. Between helping patients with mobility and aiding in a patient’s daily needs, you spend most of the day on your feet. Hence, the role of an AIN requires physical fitness and stamina.

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average assistant in nursing salary

As an assistant in nursing, you take home an average remuneration package of $58,000 per year. Your earnings vary based on experience and skills. When you have minimal experience, you start with a salary of $55,000 annually. With experience and additional qualifications, your remuneration package increases gradually, and you can make over $60,000 per year.

what factors influence the salary of an assistant in nursing?

Your remuneration package depends on various factors. For instance, your qualifications determine your earnings. When you have certificate-level qualifications, you are likely to earn less than an assistant in nursing with a bachelor's degree. While the courses have work placement training to build your experience, you are likely to earn more if you have additional experience.

The scope of your duties also determines your earnings. You earn a higher salary when you have more duties that require additional training. Additionally, working in a large hospital or healthcare facility will boost your remuneration due to the complexity of your duties.

Want to know what you will earn as an AIN? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.


types of assistants in nursing

As an AIN, you can specialise in diverse nursing areas, like working in critical care or taking care of specific patient types. Critical care assistants in nursing are trained to work in intensive care units and post-surgical care. As a critical care assistant, you transport patients for surgery, monitor vital signs and report urgent situations to registered nurses.

In geriatric nursing, you work as an assisting nurse to take care of the elderly. You cater to the needs of ageing patients in care homes and long-term care facilities. Aside from checking vital signs, you assist them with personal grooming tasks, like showering and toileting. Assistants in nursing also specialise in infant and child care. In this role, you assist with the routine care of children and infants in paediatric wards.

woman smiling at colleague
woman smiling at colleague

working as an assistant in nursing

Working as an assistant in nursing is an exciting career in healthcare. If you are interested in becoming an AIN, check out the duties, responsibilities and work environments.


education and skills

If you want to become an assistant in nursing, you require a vocational education and training (VET) or technical and further education (TAFE) qualification. The minimum qualification necessary for the role is a Certificate III in health services assistance. The course takes six months and equips you with the knowledge and industry skills needed to join the healthcare industry as an AIN. The programme includes 120 hours of work placement, which will help you gain hands-on experience working in a healthcare facility.

You can advance your qualifications with a diploma of nursing or by registering with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency or the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). Advancing your qualifications prepares you for senior roles, such as an enrolled nurse or registered nurse. Gain experience through volunteer opportunities in hospitals and healthcare facilities.

assistant in nursing skills and competencies

Some of the skills and qualities of assistants in nursing include:

  • active listening skills: as an assistant in nursing, you work closely with patients, which requires active listening skills. You rely on your listening skills to understand the patient's concerns and take note of the symptoms to relay to a registered nurse. You also require good communication skills to communicate effectively with patients and their nurses.
  • empathy: as an assistant in nursing, it is important to show compassion and empathy to patients facing various medical challenges. Your emotional intelligence helps you handle various situations, such as explaining treatment plans to patients and their families. You also make patients feel comfortable asking questions and making inquiries.
  • teamwork: as an assistant in nursing, you collaborate with various teams since you work closely with general nurses and registered nurses. Having teamwork skills helps when interacting with other health practitioners and collaborating with nurses to complete treatment procedures.
  • physical fitness: as an assistant in nursing, you help patients with mobility issues and work on your feet throughout the day. Having physical strength helps you perform physically demanding tasks, like lifting patients and pushing the medicine carts.
  • attention to detail: as an assistant in nursing, you pay attention to even the slightest changes in patient conditions that may require further examination, such as changes in diet or sleep. Being attentive to details helps you provide better care for your patients.

FAQs about working as an assistant in nursing

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of an assistant in nursing.

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