Health Services Careers

Certified nursing assistant (CNA)

CNAs assist patients with daily activities and record and communicate all issues to the nursing staff. Typical job responsibilities include assisting with personal hygiene, dressing, eating, transferring (walking) and continence. Other responsibilities may include housekeeping duties and collecting and reporting information about conditions and treatment plans to other caregivers and nurses. To become a CNA in Iowa, you must complete the 75-hour CNA course and pass written and skills competency exams. The training and testing are typically available through community colleges and often through facilities. The employer can assist you in finding access to the required training.

Certified medication aide (CMA)

A CNA can become a CMA by completing additional state regulated training and a certification program to administer medications in a long-term service and support setting. Most employers will assist in finding and covering the cost of this training. View IHCA’s on-demand Certified Medication Aide Course here.

Certified rehabilitation assistant (CRA)

A CNA can become a CRA by completing the additional state required training to safely and effectively provide rehabilitative/restorative therapies under the direction of a licensed physical or occupational therapist.

Health care assistant (HCA)

Health care assistant (HCA) – Health care assistant is a generic title for the frontline direct caregiver who serves the elderly and people with disabilities in the long-term services and supports a continuum of providers. Health care assistants provide basic care to patients and assist them in daily activities such as bathing and dressing. Because of the personal nature of the job, health care assistants should be compassionate and patient and enjoy helping others. Most employers will pay for the required training for people wanting to work in any of the health care assistant positions discussed below. While completing training, employers may allow the candidate to work at the facility to gain on-the-job training and experience in the care setting.

Home health aide (HHA)

Home health aides (HHA) or home care aides provide a broad range of social, environmental and personal care as necessary to meet a client’s needs in the client’s own home. They assist with bathing, dressing, and grooming, following a plan of care written by their supervising RN. They are responsible for observing clients, reporting and documenting observations and care performed. Tasks may include household duties like cooking, cleaning, laundry, as well as assisting with medications, wound care and bandaging, personal care and providing transportation, shopping, and running errands. They may also provide much-needed respite care to help family members or other volunteers take a break from their caregiving responsibilities. Depending on the individual job description, employers may require CNA or HHA training and certification, which they are often willing to provide as part of their employment.

Rehab/restorative aide

Under the supervision of the physical therapist or certified rehab assistant, a rehab/restorative aide helps patients gain an improved quality of life by increasing their level of strength and mobility.

Universal worker or resident assistant

A blended caregiver role often found in assisted living programs, the universal worker/resident assistant typically assists residents in all aspects of their daily life as indicated in the resident service plan, including personal care, food service, housekeeping, laundry, behavior management, socialization, activities, orientation and information needs. A universal worker/resident assistant may also monitor a resident’s condition and recommend adjustments in the level of care and services to the program nurse and, in some cases, may also be trained to administer medications.