A career as a patient care technician can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. Patient care technicians provide basic patient care and assist nurses and doctors who depend on them as a valued part of the healthcare team. Job satisfaction can come from knowing that you may be able to help people during a difficult time in their life.
The Role of a Patient Care Technician
Patient care technicians provide basic care to people in hospitals, acute and long term care facilities, hospices and home health settings. Patient care technicians also record information and report any changes in a patient’s condition that may affect their recovery or current medical condition. They help patients do tasks like bathe, eat, dress, and brush their teeth. Patient care technicians work together with medical staff to ensure the needs of their patients are met.
A typical day for a patient care technician may begin with helping patients get up in the morning. The setting in which you work will have its own rhythm and schedules, so your routine may vary. As a patient care technician, you may help someone shower, dress, and eat their breakfast. You may also help deliver and collect meal trays and assist nurses with orienting new patients. Some others include:
- Recording patient temperature, respiration, and blood pressure
- Taking an EKG
- Applying support stocking (TED hose)
- Measuring body fluids input/output
- Walking patients
- Turning or repositioning bed-bound patients
- Changing linens and clothing
- Obtaining blood specimens per doctor’s orders
- Transporting patients to physical therapy, x-ray, or other treatment sessions
Skills Needed for Patient Care Technicians
The most basic requirement for a PCT is compassion and a genuine desire to help people. Other skills you will use frequently are recording vital signs, updating patient charts, reading and following doctor’s instructions on a patient’s care plan, understanding medical terminology and anatomy, estimating percentages of patient meals consumed, listening to and communicating patient concerns to other medical staff, following safety practices and procedures, using medical and diagnostic equipment, and performing some routine office procedures. You can learn skills like these through attending a patient care technician career training program.