What Does PCT Mean in Medical Terms?
Patient care technicians (PCTs) work closely with medical staff and under the direct supervision of nurses. According to the Cambridge College of Healthcare & Technology, PCTs can work in hospitals, nursing homes, long term care facilities, among others.
Patient care technicians are in charge of patients' well-being. PCTs not only look to meet patients' basic needs but also nurture patients to make their experience the best possible.
How to Become a Patient Care Technician?
To become a PCT, candidates must enroll in and finish a patient care technician program or take another allied health program that covers PCTs' competencies, like a medical assisting program. PCT programs can last from eight weeks to a year, depending on the state.
PCTs are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), phlebotomy, performing and understanding an electrocardiogram (EKG), disease prevention, and basic laboratory procedures, among other skills that a PCT will need.
After finishing a program, candidates must obtain a general certification from the state board to be accredited as PCTs. And in some states, PCTs will need licenses to work with dialysis patients.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job openings for allied healthcare workers, such as PCTs, will grow by 5% between 2021-2031—about 200 job openings each year for these allied healthcare workers.
Becoming a PCT is a great way to enter the medical field because later on, you can continue your studies to become a licensed practical nurse and, afterward, a registered nurse. So while you are working as a patient care tech, you can pay for nursing school as you are working in the field and gaining valuable experience.
Which States Have PCTs?
PCTs can work in many states, but some require them to be certified as nurse assistants. Also, the requirements vary between states, so it's important to know what is needed where you are living.
What Is the Average PCT Salary?
A patient care technician's salary varies, and there is no specific data for this profession in the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, but for orderlies, which is a similar occupation, the mean average salary is $36,070 with a mean hourly wage of $17.34.
According to The Cambridge College of Healthcare and Technology, PCT jobs are in increasing demand and are projected to grow by 17% in 2024. Therefore, if you are looking for a career in the medical field and are interested in becoming a PCT, this role is needed.
What Are the Responsibilities of a PCT?
To understand better all the responsibilities of a patient care technician, we will mention them in the following list.
- As a PCT, you will be responsible for the physical and emotional support of all the patients under your supervision.
- PCTs collect samples of fluids and blood for analysis.
- PCTs assess the patient's condition.
- PCTs have to know if the patient is eating and drinking.
- PCTs help to move the patient and transfer them to other hospital units.
- PCTs measure blood pressure and temperature.
What Soft Skills Do PCTs Need?
As a PCT, you also need to develop some soft skills that are necessary for your work performance, such as the following:
- PCTs work in direct contact with patients and families that are usually under stress in many ways, so conflicts can emerge. Therefore, conflict resolution skills are very handy.
- PCTs need to be empathic in order to give emotional support and guidance to patients and families.
- PCTs need excellent communication skills to understand patient needs.
- PCTs must know how to manage time since they have many patients to care for.
Per Diem PCT Jobs
First, to understand better, it is necessary to explain what per diem means in medical terms. Per diem is used when patients take medicine "as needed," not on a schedule, and also when someone works "per day."
In other words, per diem means that professionals are hired for specific tasks and don't become part of the institution. Per diem PCT jobs have significant benefits, like working in different environments and having the opportunity to choose a workplace that you like. Also, if you are considering moving to another state, you can look for a per diem job in the place of interest and see if that location or facility is right for you.
Another benefit of choosing per diem PCT jobs is that the hourly pay rates are higher than those of permanent jobs, so if you are studying while you are working, it is an excellent way to pay your tuition and have your necessities covered.
There are many ways to access per diem jobs, but the most direct is through apps that have different types of work. For example, Nursa connects different healthcare workers to per diem jobs.
If you are a PCT looking for where you want to work or need to balance your time between studies, work, and family, choosing per diem jobs can be an excellent option for you.