6 Tips for Being a Good Patient Care Technician

organization tips, patient health care technician, nursing assistantGetting organized can help you be a more efficient healthcare worker

For anyone enrolled in Patient Care Technician training—or similar career training such as nursing assistant or practical nursing—thinking about your first day on the job can make you nervous. Will you remember the skills you learned in school? What if your patients are difficult? What if you can’t remember your co-workers’ names? What if you make a mistake?

All of these are valid concerns, and the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. There will be more experienced people that you can ask! When you are in doubt, never hesitate to ask a question. Here are some tips to help you during your first few weeks on the job, and maybe even throughout your whole career.

1. Carry a small notebook
In your first few weeks on the jobs, you will be meeting new people, learning the facility’s protocols, and having lots of questions. Stay organized by writing things down in your notebook. Use it as a “to-do” list for the tasks you are assigned. Use it to write down questions that you need to remember to ask your supervisor. Use it to jot down things that your patients need. A notebook is a great way to prevent you from forgetting important things.

2. Learn by observing and asking questions
When you are new on the job, there will be a lot to learn every day. The most important thing you will learn is how to care for the hospital patients or nursing home residents to whom you are assigned. Here are some tips:

  • Read your patients’ care plans ahead of time. Jot down issues you don’t understand.
  • Ask your supervisor at the beginning of your shift exactly what is expected of you, and what the patients need. Then write it down in your notebook.
  • Watch closely what your supervisor does. Observe the care they are giving to the patient and how they are doing it.
  • If there is something in the patient’s care plan that you don’t understand, be sure to ask!
  • Be sure to document everything that you do with a patient in the patient’s records.

3. Get organized with these time-saving tips
The work of a Patient Care Technician can get very busy, especially if you are serving a lot of patients. Here are some tips to make you more efficient.

  • In the first 10 minutes of your shift, devote some time to planning and preparing the order in which you will handle your tasks. Prioritizing your tasks can help you minimize wasted time, and give you more time for the tasks at hand.
  • Prepare your supplies ahead of time. Find everything you need before entering a patient’s room so that you aren’t constantly going back out into the hallway for more supplies.
  • Find out if you can bring in your own blood pressure and thermometer kit, so that you don’t have to look around for a kit every time you need to measure vitals.
  • Wear a fanny pack or a waist pack to carry frequently-used supplies like a pen, your notebook, and other small items.

4. Respect your patients
You may be working with patients who have very high levels of need. They may not be able to feed themselves, get dressed, or use the bathroom. Be sure to treat them with respect. Tell them what you are going to do before you do it. Observe their privacy. Try to engage them in conversation, or if that is not possible, then simply chat about the weather or other goings-on. Always be kind and courteous, even on difficult days.

5. Respect your co-workers
Remember, good healthcare takes a team approach. Treat your co-workers respectfully by showing up on time, lending a hand whenever you can to help others, and avoiding gossip and other negative behaviors. Don’t go overtime on your breaks, because that means someone else gets stuck doing your work. Try to be friendly to all of your co-workers—a friendly environment makes work more pleasant for everyone.

6. Respect yourself
Being a Patient Care Technician can be physically demanding. Make sure you are getting good sleep, healthy nutrition, and enough fluids. Take your breaks when they are given. Stretch a little, or take a load off your feet. Take care of your back by making sure you are lifting correctly. You can’t serve your patients effectively if you yourself are not healthy!

We hope these tips have been helpful to everyone who is studying to be a Patient Care Technician. You are training for an important career that will bring benefit to the many patients that you will serve throughout your years in the field!

This article was provided by the Harris School of Business. We provide several career training programs in the field of allied health and healthcare. Our Patient Care Technician program is located in Danbury, Connecticut. Other related programs include Professional Medical Assistant, Surgical Technologist, Dental Assistant, Massage Therapist, and Multi-Skill Health Technician. Contact us for more information about our other branch campuses throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.