What is a Patient Care Technician?

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There are so many unique roles within the medical field. Each one helps in a different way to ensure healthy patients stay healthy and those who are ill get the care they need. If you are considering beginning a career in this field, the options can be overwhelming.

 

Today, let’s take a closer look at a role that you can train for in less than 10 months and begin providing direct care to patients right away. This is the role of a Patient Care Technician.

 

If you're interested in becoming a Patient Care Technician, consider enrolling in Florida Career College's Patient Care Technician Program. The program can be completed in as few as 10 months, allowing you to begin a new and rewarding career in less than a year!

What is a Patient Care Technician?

Patient Care Technicians care for patient. They support the nursing staff and assist them with basic tasks, such as checking vitals and helping patients move around. Patient Care Techs are trained medical professionals who help keep an eye on patients who may have difficulty moving or caring for themselves.

 

The Support that Patient Care Technicians offer frees up the time for nurses to perform more in-depth tasks.

 

A Patient Care Technician performs many of the same tasks as a Certified Nursing Assistant and may be able to hold that role when starting out, but a Patient Care Technician has a higher level of training that allows them to provide even more support to patients and the nurses they work with.

What Does a Patient Care Technician Do?

Patient Care Technicians perform various simple tasks to help ensure patients are comfortable and receive the care they need. These tasks may include:

  • Checking vitals
  • Repositioning a patient within their bed or a chair
  • Helping patients get to the restroom or out of their bed
  • Transporting patients to other areas in the facility for appointments
  • Helping patients with eating and drinking
  • Recording a patient’s progress and needs for the nursing staff
  • Providing an empathetic ear to the patient or their family
  • Collecting blood or urine samples for medical tests

 

Patient Care Technicians work under the supervision of the supervising nurse or doctor and provide direct care to patients. This support may be provided on a daily basis or during a hospital stay or medical appointment.

Where Do Patient Care Technicians Work?

Patient Care Technicians work in a variety of medical settings where patients typically stay longer and require help with daily tasks. This includes hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, home healthcare companies, and assisted living communities.

 

In each of these environments, the Patient Care Technician has the opportunity to build a close relationship with those they care for as they help with tasks like dressing, feeding, and repositioning or moving. They help doctors and nurses keep a close eye on their patients and report any discomfort or issues in a patient’s treatment.

What Tasks Do Patient Care Technicians Perform?

The tasks a patient care technician performs vary depending on the environment they work in and what is needed for each patient, but they have diverse training that allows them to help in many different ways. Some of their daily tasks may include:

 

  • Checking in on patients and recording vitals
  • Assisting with feeding, dressing, or repositioning patients
  • Taking note of food and liquid intake for the doctor
  • Collecting blood or urine specimens for testing and taking those samples to a lab
  • Transporting a patient to another site for testing or treatment
  • Changing bedding, clothing, and dressings over wounds
  • Minor cleaning of the patient’s room
  • Listening carefully to patients and reporting any concerns to the nurses or doctor

What Skills Do Patient Care Technicians Need to Have?

Patient Care Technicians provide a service that is very personal and meaningful to their patients. This job can be very emotional and is not a good fit for everyone. It also requires good training to do the job well. After a training program, a patient care technician should have the skills to:

 

Handle big emotions. Trusting the care of a loved one in a nursing home or assisted-living facility can be difficult, and it’s not easy to care for the same person day after day, especially in cases where they are not expected to improve physically. This job requires a steady head and plenty of empathy. This skill may not come immediately but builds over time with experience.

 

Be responsive. Some patients may not have the ability to communicate their needs, so it is important for a patient care technician to pay attention to the details and try to anticipate a patient’s needs. Even if the patient can communicate, there are times when they may not know what they need to feel more comfortable. With good training, the patient care technician should be able to notice the small things that can make a big difference.

 

Have physical endurance. Moving patients, even within their beds, to a more comfortable position, is not easy. This takes a great amount of physical strength but also knowledge about the best techniques to position a patient without hurting them or yourself. Patient care technicians spend most of their time on their feet, visiting one patient and then the next, so it's important for them to be prepared.

 

Provide excellent patient care. In addition to having the empathy and the strength to do the job, of course, a patient care technician needs good training. They should have all the technical knowledge of how to draw blood, record vitals, dress a wound or operate medical equipment. It takes time to become truly efficient with all of these skills, but it can all be gained through hands-on practice.

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What Skills Do You Need to Become a Patient Care Technician?

There are several requirements to become a patient care technician in Texas and Florida. The first is that you must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Many training programs will require proof of our education before you can enroll. If you do not have a high school diploma, it is possible to get this while you train to become a patient care technician. Give us a call to learn more about this program.

 

Once you have your high school diploma, you can enroll in a patient care technician training program. You can find these programs at a community college or vocational college. The program can take anywhere from 10 months to two years to complete.

 

The requirements to be hired to work as a patient care technician vary from one state to the next, but most states will require patient care technicians to be certified to prove they are competent to provide service to patients. One of the more popular certifications is through the National Health Career Association. Your training program will prepare you to take this exam and will also help you understand any further requirements for your state.

How To Become a Patient Care Technician?

To become a patient care technician you just need to complete your high school diploma, attend a training program, and complete your certification exam. This process is easy with training from Florida Career College. Our Patient Care Technician program can be completed in as few as ten months.

 

The training covers:

  • Effectively communicating with patients and medical staff
  • Performing CPR
  • Providing direct care to patients in various medical settings
  • How to use inhalers, ventilators, and oxygen tanks
  • Conducting ECG testing
  • Collecting specimens for testing
  • Assisting patients with movement and exercise

 

The program also includes an 80-hour externship to put knowledge into practice in the real world. This ensures students are fully prepared for an entry-level position upon graduation.

 

For a more detailed list of how to become a patient care technician, read our How to Become a Patient Care Technician Guide.

Should You Become a Patient Care Technician?

Being a patient care technician requires a big heart and careful training, but it can lead to an incredibly rewarding career and provides opportunities to grow for years to come. Here are the top three reasons to consider becoming a patient care technician:

 

  • Train quickly. You can begin an entry-level position as a patient care technician in as few as ten months. This position may just be a stepping stone to a further career as a nurse or doctor, but it allows you to enter the medical field quickly and really understand what it takes to care for patients.

 

  • Learn something new each day. If you think helping patients with daily tasks like feeding, dressing and bathing may be monotonous; you are mistaken. Patient care technicians work with a variety of patients and interact with many different medical professionals as well. As they transport patients to their tests and appointments, they may get a sneak peek at a variety of procedures. Advanced training may even allow patient care technicians to perform those tasks In the medical field, and there are always additional training and certification options that make learning something new a reality each day.

 

  • Help others. Patient care technicians care for patients in a way that is intimate and special. The bond they build with those patients and their families is something to be honored. This position may not be for the faint of heart, but if you want to join the medical field to truly and directly help someone, this position is a very effective way to do that.

 

Become a Patient Care Technician with Florida Career College

Florida Career College provides a supportive environment for students wanting to become a Patient Care Technician. With training from experienced and compassionate instructors, plenty of hands-on practice, and various career resources, we can help you prepare for an entry-level position as a patient care technician in as few as ten months.

 

If you are ready to jump into the medical field and begin making a difference in a meaningful way, give us a call to learn more about the Patient Care Technician Program!