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Can Teens Work in Nursing Homes?

Can Teens Work in Nursing Homes

Are you thinking about studying to become a nurse?

This career is a great way to help people and make a real difference. However, it takes a lot of time and dedication to become fully qualified.

Work experience is a good way to gain some basic skills and see if this is the right career for you. One of the most popular ways to do this is by working in a nursing home.

If you are wondering, ‘can teens work in nursing homes?’ then it’s time to find out…

can teens work in nursing homes

Working As A Certified Nursing Assistant

It is possible to become a Certified Nursing Assistant when you are sixteen years old. This job involves working closely with nursing home residents and helping them with their basic needs. This includes feeding, grooming, and bathing residents and making sure they take their medication.

The nursing home residents you would work with will usually be sick and unable to care for themselves. You will be instructed and supervised in your tasks by a nurse practitioner. However, you have to complete a special training program before you can work as a Certified Nursing Assistant.

Read more: Nursing School Interview Questions

The Certified Nursing Assistant Program

Once you have graduated from high school, you need to complete a Certified Nursing Assistant program. It is possible to join a program in the summer after you finish high school. Programs usually last anywhere from six to twelve weeks and are offered by medical facilities, trade schools, and community colleges.

When choosing a training program, make sure it is approved by the nursing curriculum in your state. You will usually complete the training program in a classroom setting alongside other students. Some of the topics that are covered include basic nursing skills, patient nutrition, physiology and anatomy, and infection control.

A different exam for every state…

Once your coursework is complete, you have to sit and pass the Certified Nursing Assistant exam for your state. The exam features questions about patient rights, ethical and legal behavior, daily resident living activities, and teamwork. There is a multiple-choice section and a practical section where you will demonstrate nursing skills.

When you have your license, you will have to complete 48 hours of coursework modules every two years. If you are working at a nursing home, they will often cover the cost of extra classes. Once you have your license, you can start working as a Certified Nursing Assistant straight away.

Working As A Volunteer

You can volunteer at a nursing home from the age of fifteen. This is a great option if you are not old enough or ready to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. You will be able to spend time at the nursing home and work out if you want to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.

Volunteers are mainly responsible for interacting with residents. This could be as simple as spending time with them and talking about their day. You can do crafts with residents or wheel them around the nursing home in a wheelchair. Simply focusing your energy on nursing home residents can make their days more enjoyable.

Even the simple tasks are important…

You can also volunteer to do basic tasks around the nursing home. This can include doing the dishes, sweeping and mopping the floors, and watering plants. Other tasks can include making beds, light dusting, and restocking supplies. While these tasks are simple, they are important because they free up the nurses to care for the residents.

can teen work in nursing homes

Reasons To Volunteer In A Nursing Home

Giving up your free time for no money may not seem very appealing at first. However, volunteering at a nursing home can be beneficial in a wide range of ways. Here are some of the reasons you should consider volunteering at a nursing home.

Insight into the healthcare industry

You will have the chance to talk with the nurses at the nursing home and find out about career options. This is a good way to find out if you want to train to become a Registered Nurse. You can make connections that could help boost your career prospects in the future.

Developing communication skills

Many teenagers spend a large percentage of their time on social media. Interacting with nursing home residents allows you to work on your conversation skills. You will also interact with people from all walks of life and learn how to relate to them.

Boosting your resume

Volunteer work looks great on your resume. It shows potential employers that you are compassionate, reliable, and motivated. It will also give you something to talk about when you land your first job interview.

Learning from residents

Many older people have lived full lives packed with experience. Teenagers can learn a lot from their skills and experience. As well as listening to their stories, you can learn how to play different cards games, crafts, and more.

Gaining perspective

It is easy to get wrapped up in your own problems and feelings. Spending time with nursing home residents can help put things into perspective. While some residents may be dealing with profound challenges, seeing how they overcome those challenges can be inspiring.


The people you spend time with at the nursing home are likely to come to rely on you. Your visits may even be the highlight of their day. This will help you to see the importance of showing up when you say you will.

Boosting self-esteem

Knowing that you have had a positive impact on someone’s life can be very rewarding. This can help you feel better about yourself if you have been feeling down.

The Attributes You Need To Work In A Nursing Home

Working in a nursing home can be challenging, especially when certain residents are depressed or anxious. It is important to be able to rise above the daily challenges and focus on your set tasks. Here are some of the skills and attributes that will help you when working in a nursing home.


It is important to be concerned about the wellbeing of the residents of the nursing home. You need to be able to empathize with them and help them even when they are argumentative and unresponsive. Having compassion will make it easier to relate to even the most difficult residents.


You are likely to see residents at their worst sometimes and have to complete uncomfortable tasks like bathing them. It is essential to treat the nursing home residents with respect at all times. This can be tricky when residents have strong opinions or values that conflict with your own.

can the teens work in nursing homes


It is important to be friendly, polite, and open at all times. Residents need to know that they can ask you for help when they need it. Some people find it difficult to ask for help, so being friendly and open will make it easier for them.


Some residents need care and assistance around the clock. You need to be ready and willing to provide help whenever it is needed. This can mean canceling plans to simply sit with residents when they are having a tough day.

Strong communication skills

You need to be able to listen carefully to the residents to understand their specific needs. Some residents may have trouble speaking clearly, so it is important to focus on them. You also need to explain to residents what you are about to do when administering medicine and treatment.


The residents will come to depend on you once you have gained their trust. It is important to come to work on time and perform set tasks at the right time. This also gives family members the peace of mind of knowing their loved ones are in good hands.


You will have to make judgment calls from time to time when residents need emergency care. You need to be able to make quick and insightful decisions and have faith in your decisions. If you appear to be nervous or anxious, it will be difficult for the residents to trust you.

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Let’s Help You Plan Your Future!

If you’re set on working in the healthcare industry, then take a look at my Can A 16 Year Old Work At A Nursing Home, as well as a job opportunity with my Home Instead Senior Care Application.

Next, to help you know what your options are, I’ve put together my guides on Can Teens Work at a Hospital, or Can a Teenager Work at CVS Pharmacy, or how about the Best Fast Food Jobs For Teens, Good Jobs for Teens, or my Jobs That Will Hire You Today Even With No Experience, and finally How Much Can A Teenager Work In A Week.

If you still can’t decide on a future career path, we recommend reading the Who Am I?: An A-Z Career Guide for Teens, Careers: The Graphic Guide to Planning Your Future, the Teens’ Guide to College & Career Planning, and What Color Is Your Parachute? for Teens: Discover Yourself, Design Your Future, & Plan for Your Dream Job all available online in 2023.

Final Thoughts

If you have your sights set on a healthcare career, working in a nursing home is a good place to start. If you are fifteen, consider working as a volunteer first. This will give you basic skills and work out if you want to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.

Many nursing homes search for volunteers throughout the year to spend time with patients and perform basic tasks. Before deciding to volunteer, it is a good idea to visit your local nursing home and spend some time there.

Working in a nursing home can be challenging, and you need to make sure you truly have what it takes.

Good luck, and thank you for helping!

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