Patient Sitter Job Description
Patient sitters observe and monitor the health condition of patients under the supervision of trained nurses in hospitals or nursing homes. This job involves a range of tasks, including recording the patient’s food and liquid intake, reporting changes to senior staff, helping patients with walking and moving in and out of bed, and assisting them with eating or dressing. Patient sitters usually work full time, although shift work is common due to nursing homes and hospitals providing care at all times, so there may be a need to work nights, weekends, and holidays. This job is well-suited to people who are compassionate and empathetic, enjoy helping others, and have excellent interpersonal skills.
Patient Sitter Duties and Responsibilities
The organization a patient sitter works for will determine their exact responsibilities. Based on job listings we analyzed, these are some common duties:
Patient sitters position themselves in their assigned patient’s room to maintain constant visual observation of them. They need to make sure that the patient is never alone or out of sight unless they’ve been instructed otherwise by the nurse. Before being assigned a patient, patient sitters receive a verbal report from the nurse regarding what to look out for, what to report, and to whom.
Listen to Patient Concerns
If the patient has any worries or concerns about how they’re feeling, or if their symptoms are worsening, patient sitters listen to these problems and relay them to the appropriate nurse so that further action can be taken if necessary.
Maintain Patient Environments
Patient sitters provide comfort for the patients they’re responsible for, looking out for their safety and ensuring they’re satisfied with the level of care they’re receiving. They make sure the room is safe, clean, and meets the regulations set by the nursing home or hospital.
Record Data for Senior Staff
Along with noting any changes in the patients’ condition, patient sitters also need to maintain accurate and legible records of any untoward events, such as violent behavior or behavioral changes, so these can be added to data records.
Comply with Regulations
Health and safety regulations, along with the standards set by the organization, are critically important with this job. Patient sitters ensure that they and their colleagues are following the correct procedures to meet these guidelines for the safety and well-being of the patients in their care.
Patient Sitter Skills and Qualifications
Patient sitters should be physically fit and have strong interpersonal skills. They must maintain a compassionate attitude when dealing with people who are suffering with illnesses and injuries. Typically, employers require a high school diploma as well as the following abilities:
- Patience – this job involves various routine tasks, such as cleaning or feeding patients and listening to their worries, so patient sitters need to be comfortable performing these duties and maintaining a professional approach at all times
- Physical stamina – this is a physically demanding job, with patient sitters spending much of their time on their feet and performing physical tasks, such as helping patients get out of bed or lifting them if they’re struggling to walk
- Communication skills – patient sitters need to listen to and accurately relay patients’ concerns to inform senior healthcare professionals about any issues they’re experiencing
- Positive attitude – patient sitters work with people who are sick or injured and who will often be feeling low about their situation. This job requires an empathetic attitude and the ability to maintain positivity, both for themselves and the patients they’re working with
- Time management – patient sitters need to prioritize tasks and manage their time effectively, as they work with multiple patients each day and carry out a range of tasks that all need to be completed on schedule
Patient Sitter Education and Training
The minimum requirement to become a patient sitter is a high school diploma, with most of the skills for this job learned through on-the-job training from more experienced colleagues. Applicants must demonstrate communication skills and the ability to work safely and in accordance with health and safety regulations.
Patient Sitter Salary and Outlook
The median annual salary for patient sitters is $26,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Patient sitters in the 10th percentile earn around $20,000 a year, and the highest paid earn nearly $38,000 annually. Just over half of companies hiring for this role provide health benefits, including medical and dental coverage. The BLS predicts a job growth rate of 11 percent through 2026.
Below we’ve collected some of the best resources to help you learn more about a career as a patient sitter:
“The Rise of the Patient Sitter” – this article explains why the patient sitter role is so valuable to medical and care organizations and explores the scope of this job in terms of the duties applicants take on; it’s an interesting look at the position from a professional perspective
How to Become a Patient Sitter – providing guidance on how to become a patient sitter, this Kindle book is well worth reading for its first-hand accounts of the role and its discussion of educational opportunities within the healthcare system
Patient Sitter Resume Help
Explore these related job titles from our database of hundreds of thousands of expert-approved resume samples: