What does an assistant in nursing do?

Some example of the daily tasks and responsibilities of an AIN include the following: assisting patients with meals including feeding those unable to feed themselves; helping with basic hygiene including bed washing for those who are not ambulatory; re-application of anti-embolic stockings; recording urine output on chart; and reporting any abnormalities or changes in the patient’s condition to the RN. They must be diplomatic and caring when dealing with patients and their families, and promptly answer call buzzers.


  • Implementing infection control standards
  • Making up post-operative beds
  • Cleaning washbowls, urinals, and bedpans
  • Attend to simple dressings as directed
  • Assist in settling patients for sleep and rest periods

What skills do I need to be an assistant in nursing

A career as an AIN is challenging but satisfying. Assistants in nursing deal with patients and their families, as well as senior medical staff on a day-to-day basis and must be able to communicate effectively on health issues. Nursing is not a profession for the squeamish; it requires you to be discreet, diplomatic and compassionate, particularly when assisting with patient bathing or toileting. Shift work, including nights, weekends and holidays, may be involved and you must be able to cope with the physical demands of the job.

  • Patience and empathy
  • Ability to follow instructions
  • Observant and active
  • Respond quickly to situations and requests
  • Ability to accurately document information


Many nurses choose to begin their career as an AIN, gaining valuable experience in health care before pursuing further study to qualify as an enrolled or registered nurse and take on greater responsibilities. Below are some of the available pathways that can follow an entry-level position as an assistant in nursing.

Enrolled Nurse

An enrolled nurse (EN) has completed a 2-year nursing diploma in the vocational education sector, involving a lot of hands-on training aimed at promoting core competencies. ENs are required to work under the direct or indirect supervision of a registered nurse.

Registered Nurse

A registered nurse (RN) completes a 3-year Bachelor of Nursing degree, registering with the nursing board on graduation. Often RNs will pursue a specialisation after gaining experience in a variety of clinical and health care settings.

Aged Care Worker

Aged care provides a great deal of employment for assistants in nursing, as many elderly patients require around the clock care and help with basic daily tasks. Working with older patients can be an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience, though this is a career that requires patience and sensitivity.

Study pathways for assistants in nursing

There are opportunities for employment in the nursing industry at every level, from entry-level jobs requiring vocational training to specialised study for those purusing high-level roles within the healthcare system.

Getting Started

These vocational courses will allow you to join the nursing profession in an entry-level role, such as an EN.

Skill Building

Study for career advancement. Qualify as a Registered Nurse or pursue a career specialisation.

Professional Development

These study options will enable you to pursue high-level employment options requiring extensive qualification or specialisation in a particular nursing field. 

Industry Recognition

Assistants in Nursing in Australia are governed by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. Find out more about the professional licencing requirements in your state in the Resources section.

Getting a job after graduation

Get a head start in your nursing career and put your training into practise as soon as possible. Take a look at our sample resume and cover letter and put your best foot forward when you apply for health services jobs.

Job Prospects and Salaries

Faced with an ageing population, Australia is in the grip of a shortage of nursing staff. Professional opportunities are available at all levels and accredited assistants in nursing are in high demand.