5 Skills That Every Patient Care Technician Should Have

Patient Care Technician Skills, photo of PCT with patientThese are just some of the duties that make PCTs important healthcare professionals

If you’re studying to be a patient care technician, you’ll train to develop many different skills that will help you in your profession. This is a job where you’ll be taking care of patients in any number of contexts. But if you’re trying to decide whether this is the right career path for you, then it might help to know about the basic skills that every patient care technician (PCT) should possess. Here’s a quick overview:

1. Anticipating the needs of each patient
In taking care of patients, a PCT must be proactive about thinking of and planning for the needs of those in their care. This requires paying close attention to patient behaviors as well as listening carefully to comments that patients make about how they are feeling. A good PCT comes up with creative solutions before a supervisor needs to direct them in how to handle a situation.

2. Excellent people skills
Over the course of a day, a PCT will come into contact with a wide range of people. In addition to the patients in their care, the PCT may need to interact with colleagues, nurses, and physicians, as well as the patients’ family members. Even when circumstances are stressful and intense, the PCT will need to remain calm in order to attend to the issue at hand. This can mean clearly communicating the situation to others, who may not always be in a positive or productive frame of mind. This skillset goes beyond having a good bedside manner; it means displaying patience and maturity on a consistent basis.

3. Taking patients’ vital signs
In order to be able to assess how a patient is doing at a given time, a PCT will need to routinely take vital signs: blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and respiration. It is essential to be able to read some of these signs manually—and not only rely on technology—to determine this essential patient information.

4. Performing electrocardiograms (EKGs)
A common aspect of a PCT’s duties is assisting doctors in determining how the heart muscle is functioning, by performing EKGs. When done accurately, this procedure measures the electrical activity in the heart, which is what enables a physician to obtain an accurate picture of the patient’s cardiac functioning. Only then can the doctor make a diagnosis of the patient’s condition and determine a course of treatment. In this way, EKGs are part of a vital role that PCTs play.

5. Helping patients with basic tasks
In many cases a PCT will serve as a central caregiver for some patients. If a patient is unable to eat or drink, bathe and/or dress themselves, or use the bathroom without help, a PCT is essential to the patient’s ability to maintain a daily routine. This can help the patient to feel comfortable and competent in the world. For that reason many PCTs consider this work to be an important responsibility. Remember, for a PCT, it’s not only what you know, but how you do it! Consider the several qualities that will help you to excel as a patient care technician.

Does this range of responsibilities appeal to you? Does it overlap with skills you feel you already possess? If so, perhaps it’s time to investigate a career as a PCT. Programs like the one at the Harris School of Business provide the training and hands-on experience that can help you make a difference in patients’ lives. Reach out to us today to learn more about PCT training at our Danbury, CT campus. And good luck no matter what career path you choose!


This post is part of the weekly blog of the Harris School of Business. We’re dedicated to supporting all our students in pursuing their career goals. Contact us for more information about our number of different career training programs.