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What Is An Auxiliary Nurse?

Quick Summary

An auxiliary nurse, also known as a healthcare assistant or nursing assistant, is a vital support worker in the healthcare industry. They assist registered nurses and doctors in providing essential care and support to patients in various healthcare settings. Auxiliary nurses have a range of responsibilities, including assisting with activities of daily living, monitoring vital signs, medication management, and providing emotional support. They play a crucial role in ensuring the well-being and comfort of patients, making them an integral part of the healthcare team.


An auxiliary nurse, also known as a healthcare assistant or nursing assistant, is an essential part of the healthcare industry. They provide support and assistance to qualified nurses in delivering quality care to patients across various settings such as hospitals, community health clinics, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes.

Auxiliary nurses play a crucial role in ensuring that patients receive the necessary care and attention they need. They assist with basic activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, feeding under the guidance of registered nurses or doctors. Additionally, they may be responsible for monitoring vital signs, administering medication (depending on their level of training), assisting with medical procedures, maintaining hygiene standards within patient areas, and providing emotional support and communication.

These dedicated professionals possess skills such as patient care expertise, infection control knowledge, strong observation abilities, and effective communication capabilities. They are empathetic, caring individuals who work well both independently and collaboratively as part of a team. Auxiliary nurses also demonstrate problem-solving skills in order to address any challenges that arise during their day-to-day responsibilities.

To become an auxiliary nurse in South Africa, you will typically need to complete high school education or its equivalent. Afterwards, enrolling in a healthcare assistant course is recommended. This program provides you with the foundational knowledge and skills required for this role. Additionally, some states may require licensing requirements which you will need to complete if applicable. Exploring supplementary certifications can further enhance your professional profile and increase your employability. Finally, you can apply for jobs at various healthcare facilities once you have completed your educational and training requirements.

The average salary for a South African auxiliary nurse can vary based on factors like region, experience, employer type, and additional qualifications. However, it offers a rewarding career path that allows you to make a difference in the lives of patients while working alongside qualified medical professionals. There are also career advancement opportunities available where you can earn advanced credentials in specific areas of care or pursue additional training to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or registered nurse (RN).

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the role and responsibilities of an auxiliary nurse, the different types of auxiliary nurses, and the professional skills required for this role. We’ll also provide information on how to become an auxiliary nurse in South Africa and discuss salary expectations as well as career advancement opportunities.

What is an Auxiliary Nurse?

Definition of an auxiliary nurse:

An auxiliary nurse, also known as a healthcare assistant or nursing assistant, is a support worker in the healthcare industry. They work under the supervision of registered nurses and assist them in providing quality care to patients. Auxiliary nurses play a crucial role in various healthcare settings such as hospitals, community health clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes.

Role and responsibilities of an auxiliary nurse:

The main responsibility of an auxiliary nurse is to provide essential care and support to patients. They help with basic activities of daily living (ADLs) including bathing, dressing, feeding under the guidance of registered nurses or doctors. In addition to ADLs assistance they may have other tasks depending on their specific setting:


In hospitals, auxiliary nurses can be found working across different departments where they are responsible for washing and dressing patients, answering patient needs through intercom systems, repositioning bedridden patients, measuring food intake & liquid intakes, etc.

Operating Rooms:

Auxiliary Nurses who work here will assist before, during, and after surgery. They transport patients, assist in positioning during surgeries, and clean operating rooms.

Emergency Room:

Auxiliary Nurses keep the ER running smoothly by treating minor problems like plastering wounds, blood drawing, wound dressings, vital sign monitoring.

Community Health Clinics:

Auxiliary Nurses focus on educating communities about healthy lifestyle habits, in-home treatments, support services, and sterilizing medical equipment.

Rehabilitation Centers:

Nurses assist therapists in implementing therapeutic guidelines and preparing clients for therapy sessions.

Nursing Homes/Assisted Living Facilities:

The main caregivers at these facilities. Auxiliary nurse duties include responding to patient needs, maintaining accurate records, giving showers/baths, lifting/moving patients.

Importance Of An Auxiliary Nurse:

Auxiliary nurses are vital members of the healthcare team. Their presence ensures that patients receive the care and support they need on a daily basis. They play an important role in maintaining patient comfort, dignity, and overall well-being. They provide assistance to registered nurses which allows them to focus on more complex medical tasks. Auxiliary nurses also serve as advocates for patients by communicating their needs and concerns to the healthcare team.

Types of Auxiliary Nurses

Auxiliary nursing is a diverse field that offers various specializations to cater to different healthcare needs. Here are some common types of auxiliary nurses:

1. Midwife Auxiliary Nurses:

Midwife auxiliary nurses provide support and assistance during pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal care. They work closely with midwives and registered nurses in maternity units or birthing centers. Their responsibilities may include monitoring the health of expectant mothers, assisting with prenatal examinations, providing emotional support during labor, helping new mothers with breastfeeding techniques, and ensuring the well-being of both mother and baby.

2. Mental Health Auxiliary Nurses:

Mental health auxiliary nurses play a crucial role in supporting individuals who are experiencing mental health issues or psychiatric conditions. They assist qualified mental health professionals by providing direct patient care within hospitals or community settings such as clinics or residential facilities for those living with mental illness. Their duties can involve observing patients’ behavior patterns, administering medication under supervision, assisting patients in developing coping strategies, and facilitating therapeutic activities.

3. Community Care Auxiliary Nurse:

Community care auxiliary nurses provide essential medical services outside hospital environments. They often visit people’s homes, residential areas, and other non-clinical locations where they deliver personalized healthcare. They help the elderly, persons suffering from chronic illnesses, and those recovering after surgery. Their tasks include administering medications, dressing wounds, giving injections, taking vital signs, supporting daily activities like bathing, eating, and mobility exercises. These dedicated caregivers also offer companionship, respite relief, counseling on healthy lifestyle habits, and educating communities about disease prevention measures.

4. Dementia Care Auxiliary Nurse:

Dementia affects millions worldwide, resulting in dementia carers becoming an integral part of modern society. Auxiliary Dementia Carers help persons diagnosed with dementia live their lives fully while maintaining dignity. Responsibilities typically include personal hygiene, bathing, toileting, feeding, and dressing patients. They also provide emotional support to both the patient and their families by creating a safe environment that promotes independence while managing challenging behaviors associated with dementia.

Each type of auxiliary nurse requires specialized knowledge and skills in order to deliver quality care within their respective fields. These professionals work closely with registered nurses, doctors, or other healthcare providers to ensure comprehensive treatment for patients across various healthcare settings.

Skills Required for an Auxiliary Nurse

Auxiliary nurses play a crucial role in providing essential care and support to patients. To excel in this profession, they need to possess a range of skills that enable them to deliver high-quality healthcare services. Here are some key skills required for an auxiliary nurse:

1. Patient Care Skills:

One of the primary responsibilities of an auxiliary nurse is assisting patients with their daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and feeding. Therefore, having excellent patient care skills is vital. This includes being able to provide personal hygiene assistance while maintaining dignity and respect for the patient.

2. Infection Control Skills:

In any healthcare setting, infection control plays a critical role in preventing the spread of diseases or infections among patients and staff members alike. An auxiliary nurse must have knowledge about proper hand hygiene techniques, sterilization procedures for medical equipment, and adherence to infection prevention protocols.

3. Communication Skills:

Effective communication is essential when working closely with both patients and other healthcare professionals on the team. An auxiliary nurse should be able to communicate clearly with patients regarding their needs or concerns, as well as effectively relay information between doctors, nurses, and other colleagues involved in patient care.

4. Observation Skills:

Being observant allows auxiliary nurses to notice changes in a patient’s condition or behavior that may require immediate attention. This skill helps identify potential health issues early on and ensures timely intervention to prevent complications. Auxiliary nurses should be able to recognize subtle changes in symptoms, vital signs, and the overall well-being of patients under their care.

5. Empathy and Compassion:

Empathy is a crucial trait for an auxiliary nurse to have. It enables them to create a relationship based on support, caring, and understanding with the patients. They should show compassionate behavior, treating suffering individuals with kindness, respect, and alleviating any fears or suffering they may experience.

6. Teamwork:

Auxiliary nurses work as part of a healthcare team, collaborating with registered nurses, doctors, and other professionals. Being able to effectively communicate and collaborate within the team is essential for providing coordinated care.

7. Problem-Solving Skills:

In their role as support workers or assistants to registered nurses and doctors, auxiliary nurses may encounter various challenges that require quick thinking and problem-solving abilities. They should be capable of assessing situations, making sound decisions, and taking appropriate actions to ensure patient safety and well-being.

By possessing these skills, auxiliary nurses can provide excellent care to patients while contributing to a positive working environment within the healthcare setting.

How to Become an Auxiliary Nurse in the UK

To become an auxiliary nurse in the UK, there are several steps you can take. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to pursue this rewarding career:

1. High school education or equivalent:

The first step towards becoming an auxiliary nurse is completing your high school education or its equivalent.

2. Enroll in a healthcare assistant course:

After obtaining your high school diploma, it’s recommended to enroll in a healthcare assistant course.

These courses provide essential knowledge and skills required for working as an auxiliary nurse.

3. Fulfill state licensing requirements (optional):

Depending on the region where you plan to work as an auxiliary nurse, there may be optional state licensing requirements that you can fulfill.

Obtaining these licenses showcases your commitment and dedication towards providing quality care.

4. Explore supplementary certifications:

To enhance your qualifications and increase job prospects, consider exploring supplementary certifications related to specific areas of nursing such as dementia care or mental health support.

5. Develop a professional profile:

Building a strong professional profile will help showcase your skills and experience when applying for jobs as well as during interviews with potential employers.

6. Apply for jobs:

Once you have completed all necessary training programs, obtained any relevant licenses/certifications, and developed a compelling resume, you’re ready to start applying for auxiliary nurse positions in the UK.

There are various healthcare settings where you can find employment opportunities, such as hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and community clinics.

Consider applying to both public and private facilities to increase your chances of landing a job.

By following these steps diligently, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on a career as an auxiliary nurse in the UK.

Remember that continuing education and professional development are crucial in this field, so always stay updated with the latest advancements and best practices.

Good luck on your journey to becoming an auxiliary nurse!

Salary and Career Opportunities

Auxiliary nursing is a rewarding career path that offers competitive salaries and various opportunities for growth. In this section, we will explore the average salary for an auxiliary nurse in the UK, factors that can affect their earnings, as well as potential career advancement options.

Average Salary for an Auxiliary Nurse in the UK:

The average annual salary of an auxiliary nurse in the UK is £26,970 per year. However, it’s important to note that this figure may vary based on several factors such as region, experience level, employer type (public or private), additional qualifications held by the individual.

Factors That Can Affect Salary:

  1. Region: Salaries can differ depending on where you work within the country. For example, auxiliary nurses working in London tend to earn higher wages compared to those employed in rural areas due to differences in living costs.
  2. Experience Level: As with any profession, the more years of experience one has, the greater earning potential they have. Auxiliary nurses who gain extensive knowledge through practical exposure over time are likely to be rewarded with better pay scales.
  3. Employer Type: Auxiliary nurses working for private healthcare facilities may receive slightly higher compensation than those employed by the public sector. However, this can vary depending on the employer and their specific policies regarding wages and salaries. Additionally, nursing agencies or locum tenens positions also may offer different salary structures for those interested in temporary work assignments.

Career Advancement Opportunities:

While being an auxiliary nurse provides valuable hands-on patient care experiences, it also opens doors towards further professional development. There are several opportunities available for career growth within the nursing field. These include:

  • Specialization: Candidates who wish to explore a specific area of interest can specialize in an array of specialties, such as midwifery, dementia care, mental health, and community care. Specializing in a particular field can enhance one’s knowledge and skillset and may lead to higher-paying positions.
  • Supplementary Certifications: Obtaining additional certifications can significantly enhance an auxiliary nurse’s career prospects and earning potential. For example, acquiring certification in advanced life support or infection control demonstrates a commitment to professional development and may open doors to higher-paying positions.
  • Further Education: Some auxiliary nurses choose to pursue further education by enrolling in nursing degree programs such as Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Nurse (RN). These qualifications allow individuals to take on more responsibilities within the healthcare system while enjoying increased salary levels.
  • Management Roles: With experience and leadership skills, some auxiliary nurses progress into management roles where they oversee teams of healthcare professionals. This transition often comes with added responsibility but also offers greater financial rewards.

Overall, the field of auxiliary nursing offers competitive salaries with opportunities for advancement through specialization, further education, supplementary certifications, and management roles. Those who are passionate about providing supportive patient care will find this profession rewarding both personally and financially.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What is the difference between an auxiliary nurse and a registered nurse?

The main difference between an auxiliary nurse and a registered nurse lies in their level of education, training, and scope of practice. Auxiliary nurses typically have less formal education compared to registered nurses. They often complete shorter training programs such as healthcare support worker certificates or diplomas.

While both roles involve providing care to patients, registered nurses have more advanced knowledge and skills that allow them to perform complex medical procedures, administer medications independently, make clinical decisions, and provide specialized care. Registered nurses also require professional registration with nursing regulatory bodies.

Auxiliary nurses work under the guidance of doctors or registered nurses by assisting with basic activities of daily living for patients like bathing, dressing, and feeding. They play a crucial role in supporting patient comfort while working closely alongside qualified healthcare professionals.

Question 2: Can auxiliary Nurses Administer Medication?

In general, Auxiliary Nurses are not authorized to administer medication without direct supervision from a doctor or registered nurse. The administration of medication is considered a higher-level skill that requires specific training and knowledge. Auxiliary Nurses are responsible for assisting with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and feeding patients under the guidance of qualified healthcare professionals. However, in some countries or settings, the regulations may vary. Therefore, it’s important to check the local guidelines and policies regarding the methods of administration in a particular region or specific workplace.

Question 3: Are there any specific certifications or training programs for auxiliary nurses?

Yes, there are specific certifications and training programs available for those who wish to enhance their skills as an auxiliary nurse. In addition to basic qualifications like high school education or equivalent, auxiliary nurses can opt for additional certifications and training programs that focus on areas of specialization or advanced skills. These certifications can help them gain more knowledge and experience in particular fields, such as mental healthcare, community care, dementia care, midwifery, and more. Some examples of these certifications include Mental Health Auxiliary Nurse Certificate, Dementia Care Auxiliary Nurse Certificate, Midwife Auxiliary Nurse Certificate, etc. These programs provide specialized training and knowledge to enhance the skills and expertise of auxiliary nurses in specific areas.

Question 4: What are the working hours for auxiliary nurses?

The working hours for auxiliary nurses can vary depending on their place of employment. In healthcare settings such as hospitals or nursing homes, where patient care is provided around-the-clock, shifts may be scheduled during different times including day shifts (typically from morning until evening), night shifts (from evening until morning), or even rotating shift patterns.

It’s important to note that due to the nature of healthcare services being available at all times, some flexibility with regards to work schedules might be required from auxiliary nurses. Additionally, in certain situations like emergencies or staffing shortages, auxiliary nurses could be asked to adjust their working hours or take overtime. However, the exact working schedule will depend on the policies and practices of the employing organization.

Question 5: Can auxiliary nurses specialize in a specific area of healthcare?

Yes, auxiliary nurses have an opportunity to specialize in a specific area of healthcare. After gaining experience in basic patient care roles, they have an option to pursue additional training and supplementary certifications in specific fields. For example, they could specialize in mental health, caring for dementia patients, midwifery, etc. This allows them to gain expertise and provide high-quality care in a particular area of healthcare. Auxiliary nurses who specialize in a specific area can work in specialized units, clinics, or facilities that cater to the needs of patients requiring such care. Specialization also opens up opportunities for career advancement and higher-level roles within healthcare organizations.


  1. https://nursesgroup.co.uk/auxiliary-nurse-uk
  2. https://hk.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/what-does-auxiliary-nurse-do
  3. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/auxiliary-nurse

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