With demand for health services at an all-time high, healthcare teams and facilities often struggle to provide the level of care their most vulnerable patients need and deserve. Overcrowded schedules and a constant flow of patients makes it difficult for medical teams to properly address patient comfort and emotional wellbeing.
Into this gap steps a uniquely qualified professional known as the Patient Care Technician (PCT). Working alongside other healthcare providers, PCT’s assist with day-to-day needs like food, clean conditions, and supplies.
Under the supervision of registered nurses, PCT’s usually work in hospitals and clinics, nursing care facilities, retirement and assisted living communities, and home health care providers.
Patient Care Technician Tasks and Duties
Part advocate, part clinical care assistant, Patient Care Technicians work hands-on to ensure patients’ comfort, safety, and peace of mind. They form a bond between patients and their health care teams, acting as a support system to provide the patient with a positive experience under often-challenging circumstances.
A PCT’s job responsibilities may include:
- Providing direct patient care such as bathing, feeding, catheter care, and more.
- Acquiring, distributing, and administering patient care supplies.
- Performing safety checks and ensuring clean patient rooms.
- Accommodating patients with special needs.
- Obtaining EKG readings and monitoring patient vital signs.
- Performing phlebotomy procedures.
- Providing emotional support to patients and families, especially those coping with grief after a patient’s death.
The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) reports that the five most valuable traits for a successful PCT are:
- Customer Service
- Teamwork and Collaboration
- Technology Skills
- Problem Solving
PCT Job Outlook
As you can probably imagine, the combination of empathy, diligence, and skill required to work effectively puts well-trained PCT’s in high demand.
Faced with an aging population, healthcare providers forecast the volume of patients over the age of 65 to reach nearly 90 million over the coming decades. As these patients often require special care, 37% of healthcare employers surveyed by NHA expect PCT’s to play an increasingly active and important role in the healthcare experience.
Driven by the expansion in demand for healthcare, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates a bright future for well-qualified Patient Care Technicians. The BLS states that job growth among nursing assistants will be much faster than the average for all jobs between now and 2029.
According to the BLS, nursing assistants earn $14.25 per hour or $29,640 per year. PayScale.com reports a similar figure, estimating that PCT’s earn $14.16 per hour. PayScale.com also notes that almost 4 out of 5 PCT’s are “highly satisfied” with their jobs.
How to Become a Patient Care Technician
If you enjoy making a difference in the healthcare experience by providing patients with both physical and emotional care, a PCT career might be a great choice for you.
Your first step is to become certified. The NHA’s Certified Patient Care Technician Level I exam results in a valuable credential that can act as a great first step in your new career.
The Certified Patient Care Technician Level I exam covers a cross-disciplinary range of subjects that include:
- Patient Care
- Compliance, Safety, and Professional Responsibility
- Infection Control
Patient Care Technician Training Online
To become eligible to sit for the Certified Patient Care Technician Level I exam, you will need to complete a PCT training course.
A strong course will provide a broad perspective on the PCT’s work within the healthcare environment. It will help you prepare to work with doctors, nurses, and other health system professionals.
Most importantly, a high-quality preparation course will address each of the five areas covered by the Certified Patient Care Technician Level I, including detail on such topics as:
- Patient care procedures
- Legal issues in healthcare
- Standard precautions
- Infection control
- Medical terminology
- Physical examinations
- Patient positioning
- Bed mobility
- Range of motion
- Therapeutic exercises
- Assistive devices
- Orthosis and prosthesis
- Transfer techniques
- Wound care and pressure sores
- Wheelchair management
In our course, Patient Care Technician, you will learn each of these topics in detail and more. With 300 self-paced hours of content, the course prepares you to take and pass the Certified Patient Care Technician Level I exam.
Now is a great time to start a Patient Care Technician career.