Would the daily responsibilities and challenges of this healthcare role be a good fit for you?
If you’re considering training as a patient care technician, you probably have lots of questions, including, “What are the daily responsibilities?” Becoming a PCT is a great way to enter the healthcare field, as you’ll be working under the direct supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN). Anywhere you find nurses may also employ patient care technicians.
Here we’ve provided an overview of this profession, to give you a sense of what’s involved.
Hospital vs. long-term nursing home or residential care
Most patient care technicians work in hospitals or in long-term care facilities, such as residential homes and nursing homes. One of the differences in a hospital is that patients will often come and go more routinely, whereas working a longer-term facility gives you the opportunity to get to know patients better, as there’s more time to build relationships. You’ll learn what makes them laugh, their personal preferences, and what small things are likely to brighten their day.
Daily tasks in a hospital environment
In a hospital, there are many opportunities for patient care technicians to get experience. Think you may want to specialize later in your career in a certain area of nursing? Working as a patient care technician can give you a wealth of experience that can be valuable in this way. This can also make you more confident as you progress on your career path.
The range of responsibilities can be highly varied, but may include:
- Transporting patients in wheelchairs to and from the X-ray facility
- Measuring patients’ vital signs, including blood pressure and temperature
- Aiding a physician in administering a cast for a broken limb
- Taking patient samples, printing and affixing labels to vials, and delivering them to the lab for testing
- Assisting patients in moving from the bed to the restroom, or to other locations in the hospital
- Updating patient files in the electronic medical records system
- Delivering ice chips to give comfort to patients in labor and delivery
- Administering electrocardiograms (EKG)
- Cleaning equipment, making beds, and making sure rooms are well stocked with supplies
Every hospital department is unique and the rewards and challenges will be different. A day in the life of an Emergency Room Patient Care Technician will give you greater insight into this fast-paced environment.
Daily tasks in a residential or nursing home
In a residential care facility or nursing home, you get a greater opportunity to foster personal relationships with your patients and their families. It’s all about reaching out to offer the basic care with the greatest tenderness. Some typical tasks include:
- Moving patients (within their own room, to a bed or chair, or to the restroom)
- Assisting a patient in moving to a location within the facility (by aiding them in walking or with a wheelchair)
- Taking patients’ vital signs
- Collecting blood and/or urine specimens and labeling them for testing
- Feeding and assisting patients with meals and beverages
- Helping patients with bathing, dressing, and grooming
- Changing bed linens and cleaning patient rooms
Much of the work of in the career of a patient care technician involves working with elderly patients. You can offer essential assistance to these patients given their diminished ability to care for themselves and their families.
Although the specific tasks differ each day, working as a patient care technician takes special sensitivity. This profession is truly a calling to care for patients. Not sure if a patient care technician is the right healthcare profession for you? Visit our programs page for overviews of Harris School of Business’s other career-training programs. Taking the time now to research what could be the right career for you is a wise investment. Good luck!
This post is part of the weekly blog of the Harris School of Business. We’re dedicated to supporting all our students as they pursue the career goals they’ve set for themselves. Reach out to us for more information.