Since I’ve gotten a few questions about my job, I wanted to share with you all a little more about what I do.
I’m currently a Patient Care Technician (PCT) at a hospital. A PCT is a fancy term for nursing assistant.
How does one become a PCT?
In order to work as a PCT, there are some requirements you must fulfill. First, you need to be a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Yes, a PCT is a CNA, but a CNA is not necessarily a PCT (I’ll explain later). Depending on the hospital, additional certifications, EKG Technician and Phlebotomist, may be required.
Where can you get a job as a PCT?
Pretty much anywhere in the healthcare field. The most common workplaces are hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. Specialty clinics and at-home caregiving are also available options. Pretty much wherever there’s a nurse, there’s probably a PCT/CNA.
What does a PCT do?
Being a PCT isn’t easy. It’s fast-paced and demanding. You’re on your feet a lot and always on the move. Sometimes it’s slow and you can have a relaxed shift with all your breaks. Other times, it’s fast and crazy busy with no time to sit down and chart and definitely no time to take breaks. As a PCT, we are the ones that spend the most time with the patient. We are the ones in charge of the patient’s everyday needs, such as: bathing, eating/feeding, bathroom needs, ambulating, transferring, dressing, and the list goes on. Basically if there’s anything the patient needs, we are the first to respond. It’s not always the most pleasant job, but it is very rewarding.
PCTs/CNAs work together with nurses. The nurses and patients are assigned depending on the charge nurse (nurse who is in charge of the unit), the census (amount of patients on unit), and the amount of staff working. The nurses delegate tasks to the PCT that must be completed for each patient. Some examples of these tasks can be blood sugars, G-Tube feedings/flushes, catheterization, taking vitals (T, P, R, BP, O2) and specimen collection. PCTs are then responsible for completing the delegated tasks in a timely manner as well as all activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs are the everyday needs mentioned previously.
Shifts follow the nursing schedule, so they can either be 8-hour or 12-hour shifts. I’ve seen some hospitals offer 10-hour shifts. It just depends on the facility.
What’s the difference between a PCT and a CNA?
As I said before, a PCT can be a CNA but a CNA is not necessarily a PCT. You need the same nursing assistant certification as a CNA to be a PCT, therefore you are a CNA. Since PCTs sometimes require of the additional certifications, a CNA is not a PCT. I’ve also seen other names for CNAs, such as Patient Care Representative. What’s important is that you look at the requirements and job description. They’re all different names, but they’re all the same.
Being a PCT/CNA is a lot more than just butt-wiping. I have gained so much medical experience because of my job. Don’t let this negative stereotype get in your way of becoming a nursing assistant!
If you are interested in more information or have more questions, don’t hesitate to send me a message! I love getting questions and meeting new people, so don’t be afraid to say hey ☺️