I’ve come across a number of job offerings that allow nursing assistant students and graduates to apply for personal support worker jobs. What exactly are the main differences between a nurses aid and a personal support worker?
When reading course descriptions of the tasks that a CNA (certified nurses aid) has to complete it sounds very familiar to the work carried out by a PSW. Some of this care can include grooming, changing linens, feeding and bathing, or helping move a patient.
The text book used for personal support worker courses is the virtually the same as a nurses aid text. Typically the text books are by the same author, with a few edits here and there. Where nurses aides do get a boost is that they are allowed to administer medications in Ontario. PSW’s aren’t technically allowed to administer medications. They can prep them, get them ready and hand them over to the clients or to someone who is certified. With that said unfortunately (and illegally) many PSW’s do administer meds as per their employers instructions, so that’s probably a moot point.
When it comes to the province of Ontario a nurses aide and a PSW are treated as one in the same. Not all employers will allow Nurses Aids to apply for PSW positions. But most will. If you have a decision whether to take a nurses aid or a PSW course you may have more opportunities going forward as a Nurses Aid. That is at least until the personal support worker industry becomes more closely regulated by the Ontario government.