Serving as a nursing assistant in healthcare is considered an entry-level position. While an individual only needs to complete training and get licensed by the state to begin working in the field, it takes a year or two of experience to earn the average salary of a nursing assistant.

Tasks and Responsibilities
Nursing assistants spend the majority of their day attending to the needs of the people they serve. They help patients and residents bathe, dress, shave, comb their hair, eat and socialize. They also assist the nurses in charge of the floor or wing by collecting specimens, monitoring a patient or residents basic vital signs and recording intake of food and output of urine.

For their time and work a nursing assistant makes an average wage of $11.84 per hour which accumulates to a yearly salary of $24,620. While this is the average wage for a nurse aide, some make a higher or lower amount based on experience. A nursing assistant with little experience often starts out making approximately eight dollars per hour while those with more experience make above $15.

Work Hours
Residents of a nursing home and patients in the hospital need care from nurse aides 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Nurse aides work either eight or 12 hour shifts depending upon the schedule set by the facility in which they work. These shifts occur during the day, evening or night as well as on weekends.

Employment Locations
A nursing assistant has employment opportunities at a variety of medical facilities in their community or area. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics approximately 52 percent of nurse aides work in nursing homes while 29 percent are employed in hospitals. Other employment locations include assisted living centers, doctors' offices and public health departments.

Advancement in the nursing field is available to a nursing assistant through additional training and education. This advancement brings a higher salary along with more responsibilities. Advancing up from a nursing assistant to the next level of being a medication aide raises the average wage from $11.84 per hour up a little more than one dollar to $12.96 according to a report by the North Carolina Institute on Aging. Licensed practical nurses and registered nurses are further up the advancement ladder and make an average wage of $19.28 and $31.31 respectively according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.