What Is a Nurse Extender?

The National Institutes of Health define a nurse extender as a health care professional, such as a certified nursing assistant, who assists registered and licensed practical nurses in patient care in the hospital or nursing home environment. Nurse extenders perform tasks that do not require professional nursing skills.

According to the NIH, an increasing demand for caregivers has given rise to nurse extender programs throughout the U.S. Job descriptions and education programs for nurse extenders vary considerably depending on the health care setting and facility needs.

Nursing administrators must assess their health care program to define a strategy for the utilization of nurse extenders, and programs are designed to meet the specific needs of each health care facility.