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Can a 16 Year Old Work at a Nursing Home?

can a 16 year old work at a nursing home

Are you looking for a part-time job where you can help people and learn new skills?

Then working at a nursing home could be the perfect option. You’ll get the chance to interact with people from all walks of life and learn some important skills.

Before you rush out and apply to work in your local nursing home, there are some things to bear in mind. You have to be at least 18 to do most nursing jobs and hold special certificates.

However, you may be wondering, ‘can a 16 year old work at a nursing home?’ Let’s find out.

can a 16 year old work at a nursing home

Working as a Certified Nursing Assistant

It is possible to work as a Certified Nursing Assistant from the age of sixteen. Certified Nursing Assistants work closely with residents and perform tasks like feeding, bathing, and grooming. They also help with tasks like handing out medication and checking the patient’s vital signs.

As a CNA, you would help residents who are sick and unable to take care of themselves. You form close bonds with residents under the supervision of a nurse practitioner. However, before you can work as a Certified Nursing Assistant, you need to complete a special training program.

Read more: Nursing School Interview Questions

The Certified Nursing Assistant Program

After graduating from high school and getting your diploma, you need to complete a CNA certificate program. This program runs from six to twelve months and can be taken in the summer after finishing high school.

A large number of medical facilities, community colleges, and trade schools offer CNA training programs. You need to make sure you choose a program that is approved by your state’s nursing curriculum.

During your coursework, you will learn the following:

  • Patient Nutrition
  • Basic Nursing Skills
  • Infection Control
  • Physiology and Anatomy

After you finish your coursework, you will then need to sit and pass the state CNA exam. This includes questions about ethical and legal behavior, patient rights, teamwork, and daily resident living activities. The exam includes a multiple-choice section as well as a practical section where you have to demonstrate nursing skills.

After you have gained your license, you need to complete an extra 48 hours of coursework every two years. In many cases, the nursing home covers the cost of these extra classes for their Certified Nursing Assistants.

Working as a Volunteer

If you are not ready to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, you can volunteer at a nursing home. Most facilities accept volunteers from the age of fifteen. This gives you the chance to spend time in a nursing home and find out if you want to pursue this career.

One of the main duties of nursing home volunteers is interacting with the residents. This could simply mean sitting down and having a conversation with one of them. You can also help organize activities for residents like bridge games or crafts. Simply volunteering to steer a resident around the nursing home in their wheelchair can also brighten their day.

Volunteer task to do…

There are also many other volunteer tasks you can do in a nursing home. You could volunteer to clean the dishes, mop and sweep the floors, and do some light dusting. Other tasks include stocking supplies, making beds, and watering plants.

can the 16 year old work at a nursing home

The Skills and Qualities You Need to Work in a Nursing Home

Working in a nursing home can be challenging at times. To do the job well, you need to have certain personal skills and attributes. Here are the main personal qualities you need to work in a nursing home.


It is essential to have a genuine concern for the residents in the nursing home. There are sure to be times when certain residents are unresponsive and even argumentative and rude. Having strong compassion for the residents will help you face even the toughest situations.


You will meet and interact with people from all walks of life in a nursing home. Some people may have quite strong opinions and beliefs that could be controversial. It is important to be able to treat each person with respect, no matter who they are or what they believe in.

can 16 year old work at a nursing home


You need to be open and friendly at all times. This helps the residents to feel safe and happy when you are around. Being friendly and approachable while making it easier for other nursing home employees to work with you.


Working in a nursing home is not a nine-to-five job. You need to be adaptable and provide care whenever it is needed. You also need to take a different approach to each resident, depending on their specific needs.

Strong Communication Skills

It is important to listen to the residents in your care and be able to understand their needs. Some residents may have trouble speaking, so you have to listen to them carefully. You also need to be able to communicate clearly with both residents and your colleagues.


Once you have gained the trust of the residents, they will come to depend on you. It is important to arrive on time and perform certain tasks at set times of the day. The family of the nursing home residents need to know that you are responsible and reliable. This will let them know their loved ones are in good hands and give them peace of mind.


There are sure to be times when you have to make a judgment call when caring for residents. You need to be able to act decisively and be sure you are doing the right thing. Having confidence also helps your colleagues, the nursing home residents, and their family members trust you.

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Final Thoughts

Working and volunteering in a nursing home require special communication skills and a lot of compassion. While this can be a rewarding job, it can also be very difficult and tiring at times.

It takes a lot of commitment to work as a Certified Nursing Assistant or a volunteer. Before taking on these types of roles, it is important to make sure you have what it takes to do the job. It is a good idea to reach out to a local nursing home and see if you can spend the day there.

If possible, spend time with Certified Nursing Assistants and volunteers and find out more about their duties.

All the very best finding Work in a Nursing Home!

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