Have you thought about becoming a Patient Care Technician? If so, the first thing that you will need to do is to understand the duties of a Patient Care Technician. The job duties of a patient care technician include but are not limited to the following; bathing a patient, feeding a patient, performing personal hygiene and grooming, taking vital signs, pulse oximetry, performing wound care, drawing blood, performing an EKG, reading a cardiac monitor, charting, starting or removing an IV and passing medications. If you are thinking that these duties seem like lot of responsibility, and is more geared toward a nurses professional scope of practice, you wouldn’t be wrong.
The reason that patient care technicians are required to perform so many nursing duties is that hospitals don’t have or prefer not to invest the funds in paying a nurse over $35 per hour when they can pay the patient care technician $15-$20 per hour. One can imagine the huge different in cost saved over the year.
However, the next question you should be asking yourself, is what about patient safety? This is a real issue. Not all patient care technicians are trained the same. As a matter of fact there is no state license for patient care technician. Some states call the nurses aide a patient care technician, while some hospitals will train their patient care technicians in house through their own programs. Hospitals do this to be sure that their patient care technicians are able to perform the skills expertly to maintain patient safety. In nursing we use the term failure to rescue. What this means is that hospitals will either under staff a floor or delegate non-nursing personnel to do a nurses job. Some of the patient care technicians go on to nursing school, physician assistant school or medical school. While others are comfortable in their jobs until retirement. The great thing about patient care technicians is that they possess the skills to work in many disciplines of the health care arena. For instance, they can also work as a phlebotomist or an electrocardiogram technician (EKG). As long as hospitals need patient care technicians to fill the void of competent patient care providers, patient care technicians will always be demand.
The training of a patient care technician is very intensive. While not every patient care technician will be expected to perform all the duties listed above, it is worth noting that they will be doing more than a nurses aide. How much more will be up to the facility which they choose to work for. The most important thing is that the new graduated patient care technician is aware and able to perform many skills in patient care that go beyond that of a nurses assistant.