Get trained as an orderly for an extremely rewarding career. This job is for hands-on people who have compassion for the sick, injured and elderly. When patients are at their most difficult times e.g. being confined to a hospital bed or waiting to go for their next CT scan, a few kind words or a helping hand can make the world of difference.


Working as an orderly also provides exposure to many kinds of healthcare professionals and is a great way to explore careers in the field. It can be a great stepping stone to a medical career.


Not only will you get paid to get qualified as an orderly with on-job training, you’ll be able to observe and learn about medical procedures from the experienced medical team around you.

What’s involved in being an Orderly

As an orderly you might be employed in a hospital, nursing home and/or other inpatient healthcare setting. Your help, reassurance and companionship make a significant difference in the patient’s experience. Work is usually performed on a rostered basis where hours can include evenings and night shifts.

A typical day for an Orderly

During a typical day, an orderly may do some or all of the following:

  • provide reassurance and companionship to make a significant difference in the patient experience.
  • help or actually move patients from one place to another within a facility or support the patient to transfer from bed to wheelchair and vice-versa.
  • monitor a patient’s condition e.g. vital signs including blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and respiratory rate.
  • carefully note and document changes accurately to help provide a solution to the condition or at least mitigate the symptoms.
  • respond to possible medical emergencies while help is still on the way.
  • prevent the spread of disease by following infection control procedures
  • maintain the unit’s inventory of equipment and non-medical supplies.
  • play a vital role in making patients more relaxed and calmer before they go to have some procedure that they may not want to have, or be anxious about.

“What I love about being an orderly is the social aspect. The majority of patients are awesome. They just want someone to chat to. We make them feel better sometimes when they’re nervous. We have a chat with them about their home life, what’s going on with them or just distract them from being unwell. I find it really rewarding.”

Charissa, Orderly, Christchurch District Health Board Public Hospital

Characteristics of an Orderly

Orderlies need to be:

  • physically fit, as the work can be physically demanding e.g. moving and lifting patients, pushing beds, rubbish, laundry trolleys.
  • practical, organised and responsible.
  • friendly, patient and understanding.
  • able to relate well to people from a range of cultures and backgrounds.
  • a good communicator.
  • compassionate when dealing with the sick, injured and elderly.
  • able to follow strict health and safety and infection control precautions.

Aptitudes of an Orderly

Orderlies need to have knowledge of:

  • basic patient care skills.
  • the needs of the elderly.
  • health and safety procedures, and exposure to hazardous substances such as blood and bodily fluids.
  • first aid skills.

How to become a qualified Orderly

You’ll learn to be an orderly through on the job training supported by Careerforce, so you will need to be employed. Your employer can help you gain relevant, practical qualifications while gaining experience in a work environment. Assessment is carried out by assessors within the workplace.

Career Journey

At School Introductory Roles Advancing Roles Leadership Roles/Senior Roles
 SUGGESTED SUBJECTS Role Titles Role Titles Role Titles
Health and Physical Education
Social Sciences
Orderly Team Leader
Nursing assistant
Allied health professional
Qualifications Qualifications Qualifications
Gateway Subjects
Follow the Purple Pathway (Social and Community Services)
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) Orderly Services Strand Health and Wellbeing qualifications in Level 4 and 5
New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) (Advanced Support)
Leadership/business qualifications

More information

Read more about orderly qualifications

New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 3) Orderly Services Strand

In employment

  • Talk to your employer
  • Contact 0800 277 486 and talk to our Vocational Pathways Advisors at Careerforce

Still at school?

  • Talk to your Careers Advisor
  • Contact 0800 277 486 and talk to our Apprenticeship and Vocational Pathways Advisors at Careerforce


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