As a definition familiar to the general public, an orderly is a male nurse's aide or attendant and may include both individuals with nursing assistant training, certification and other credentials and unskilled male healthcare workers used primarily for their strength in lifting and transporting patients. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistic's Occupational Outlook Handbook, however, the term specifically excludes the certified nursing assistant (CNA) and nursing assistants as a whole. Thus, orderly jobs are primarily unskilled healthcare positions held by individuals with little formal training. Aside from transferring and transporting, no patient care interaction is required. The best orderly jobs are chosen typically by identifying positions that best meet the job seeker's salary, schedule and stability of employment needs.
Overall, orderly jobs earn some of the lowest salaries in the healthcare field due primarily to the unskilled nature of the position. Typically, US federal and individual state hospitals — such as Veterans hospitals and state mental institutions — pay more than private, for-profit hospitals and medical centers. Salaries vary by location as well, with the highest amounts found in highly populated urban areas. The best orderly jobs may be with employers who offer additional on-the-job or on-site training. In these situations, orderlies can sometimes complete the clinical requirements to test for a nursing assistant certification and achieve a higher rate of pay with such credentialing.
The best orderly jobs are also those that best suit the worker's personal and family schedule. As most orderly positions involve patient transportation, which usually takes place during the day, the majority of orderly jobs are during the morning and afternoon shifts. Night shifts usually remain easily attainable, however, due to the unpopularity of this particular work schedule for most workers. Orderlies working a regular night shift schedule often receive a shift differential or an additional amount of money automatically added to their hourly pay. Choosing the optimal orderly position may also include determining whether a full-time or a part-time position is most amenable to a worker's life obligations and financial situation.
Stability is another characteristic of the best orderly jobs. A facility's staffing needs for unskilled workers such as orderlies depend upon where and how the institution chooses to save costs. Some facilities prefer to retain and pay unskilled workers lower wages as opposed to assigning more highly trained — and highly paid — personnel these duties. Other organizations opt to retain semi-skilled or skilled workers who can always multitask to less skilled positions. In most cases, the more training a worker has, the greater the stability of his position.