if you’ve been to a hospital or clinic lately, the person who greeted you and entered your registration was most likely not a doctor or nurse.
In fact, it was probably a well-trained Patient Care Technician who prepared you to sit down with your doctor, nurse, or laboratory technician to manage or prevent an illness.
In this post, we discuss the pros and cons of being a Patient Care Technician.
We talk about what PCTs do, where they work, and answer the question:
“Should you become a patient care technician for undecided career seekers.
What is a Patient Care Technician?
Patient Care Technicians are front-line healthcare workers who play a pivotal role in serving the medical needs of patients in healthcare settings across America.
We find them working in a variety of healthcare settings to offset the duties of nurses, doctors, and other primary medical care providers who work in the medical field.
What Do Patient Care Technicians Do?
Taking Patient Vital Signs
PCTs use specialized medical equipment to measure vital signs like heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
They record their findings in patient charts for review by nurses, doctors, and other medical team members.
Some PCTs are skilled phlebotomists who assist hospitals and clinics with drawing blood for medical testing and patient lab work.
Collecting Laboratory Samples
Certified Nursing Assistants and PCTs use sterile techniques to skillfully draw blood, collect clean catch urine samples, and label specimens for laboratory review.
They also verify patient information to store and transport samples to labs where specimens are analyzed to accurately diagnose patients and rule out certain forms of illness and disease,
Assisting Patients with Personal Hygiene
Patient Care Techs work in a variety of medical treatment facilities and healthcare settings, including doctor’s offices, hospitals, urgent care clinics, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities.
They ensure their patient’s comfort and dignity while promoting cleanliness and preventing infections by assisting patients with bathing, oral care, hair care, and skincare.
Administering Prescribed Medications
Technicians support doctors and nurses in clinical settings by administering prescribed medications to patients according to the prescriber’s instructions.
They may dispense medication to patients, monitor patient vital signs after taking medication, or apply topically prescribed medications to assist in healing and pain relief.
Administering Basic Medical Treatments
The duties of PCTs can extend well beyond checking patient vital signs.
They can also assist with medical devices, provide ambulatory support for mobility assistance, and offer simple wound care for minor wounds, cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
PCTs are often called to assist with other primary care in emergencies or when healthcare facilities are short-staffed.
Pros of Being a Patient Care Technician
If you love making a difference in the lives of others while providing essential medical care services, working as a PCT could be the job for you.
Active PCTs report rewarding careers and some of the following as the upsides of working as a tech.
Pro #1. – PCTs Directly Impact Healthcare and Healing
PCTs provide hands-on care to ensure patients are comfortable and help them with daily tasks.
They monitor vital signs to help with the early detection of life-threatening medical illnesses and assist other healthcare providers with treatment.
Pro #2. – Employment Experts Project High Job Stability and Steady Demand for New Technicians
An aging population, a decline in the available number of nurses working at hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics, and an increase in chronic health conditions are driving high demand for PCTs.
America’s Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a steady growth rate for PCTs.
They predict this career field will grow by at least five percent within the next few years leading up to 2031.
Pro #3. – Short Training Period to Get Started
Today’s Patient Care Technicians get started in the field after a brief training period and earning state certification.
Training programs that offer on-the-job learning components run from a few weeks or months for certification programs to a few years for training programs offered by local colleges and universities.
Pro #4. – Ability to Work in Diverse Environments
Jobs in the healthcare industry are always on as hospitals, emergency rooms, urgent care facilities, and clinics operate around the clock.
This always-on availability makes it easier for PCTs to choose a work location that suits their desired work environment, schedule, and commute.
They can work in nursing homes, telehealth positions, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers virtually any time of the day or night.
Pro #5. – Continuous Learning Opportunities are Available
As front-line workers, PCTs have access to continuous learning opportunities that provide them with access to some of the latest medical tools and technology to serve patients and medical staff members more efficiently.
Today’s PCTs are trained in using healthcare technology to schedule telehealth appointments, update digital medical records, and correspond with clients using connected apps and devices as a component of their healthcare.
Cons of Being a Patient Care Technician
While many positives are associated with working as a PCT, there are also some downsides.
Below, we discuss a few of the common complaints of active PCTs and what they mean for people thinking about pursuing the profession.
Con #1. – Working as a PCT Can Be a Physically Demanding Job
Many patients have mobility issues and need help walking, standing, or repositioning themselves on beds or stretchers.
PCTs do a ton of heavy lifting, whether that be patients, patient files, or medical supplies.
Lifting and transferring patients from beds, chairs, examination tables, and other locations can take a physical toll on Patient Care Technicians over prolonged periods.
Con #2. – Daily Patient Care Can Be Emotionally Draining
Today’s front-line medical support staff must closely monitor their mental health and emotional state.
Being in the constant presence of illness, witnessing suffering, dealing with the loss of patients, and a highly stressful work environment can become emotionally draining for Patient Care Technicians.
Con #3. – Medical Professionals Often Work Irregular or Erratic Schedules
Hospitals, emergency rooms, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities never close, and working irregular or erratic hours is a common complaint of PCTs.
Patient Care Technicians often work long and erratic hours, including late nights, graveyard shifts, and early mornings, which can take an extended toll on their sleep cycles and sense of well-being.
Con #4. – Exposure to Illness is Reality
Exposure to serious or deadly illnesses in healthcare clinics, hospitals, and other medical treatment facilities can be a daily reality for Patient Care Techs.
Being in constant contact with sick patients who carry infectious and deadly diseases can increase the risk of exposure to highly infectious or contagious diseases and infections on the job.
Con #5. – High-Stress Environments
The business of healthcare and medical treatments never stops.
Hospitals are always open and filled with people needing mental or physical help to restore wellness.
Dealing with the reality of ailing patients demanding service and medical updates on their conditions, coupled with the fast-paced nature of healthcare environments, can create a high-stress work environment for patient care technicians.
10 Pros and Cons of Being a Patient Care Technician – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Patient Care Technician
|Cons of Being a Patient Care Technician
|Pro #1. - PCTs Directly Impact Healthcare and Healing
|Con #1. – Working as a PCT Can Be a Physically Demanding Job
|Pro #2. - Employment Experts Project High Job Stability and Steady Demand for New Technicians
|Con #2. - Daily Patient Care Can Be Emotionally Draining
|Pro #3. - Short Training Period to Get Started
|Con #3. - Medical Professionals Often Work Irregular or Erratic Schedules
|Pro #4. - Ability to Work in Diverse Environments
|Con #4. - Exposure to Illness is Reality
|Pro #5. - Continuous Learning Opportunities are Available
|Con #5. - High-Stress Environments
Should You Become a Patient Care Technician?
Now that you’ve read a few pros and cons of being a Patient Care Technician, is this the field for you?
If you’re still undecided about pursuing this career, consider the following skills today’s techs require.
Patient Care Technicians communicate with patients, medical staff, and others during a typical work shift.
Effective communication skills are vital.
All PCTs must be able to communicate clearly and effectively to be successful in this field.
Understanding patient needs is paramount for success as a PCT.
Technicians must be empathetic and make their patients feel cared for, heard, and understood during treatment.
Working in medical environments can be hectic and emotionally challenging.
Patient Care Techs must be skilled at managing patience and emotional regulation when treating patients in healthcare facilities.
Basic Medical Training
Each state has its basic education, training, and certification requirements.
Prospective technicians must be willing to commit to learning basic medical care and related skills to engage in efficient and effective patient care.
Time Management Skills
Adhering to set schedules to ensure all patients receive adequate and timely service is paramount for PCTs.
Time management skills are an absolute must-have.
PCTs work with a large staff of doctors, nurses, practitioners, and other technicians.
Teamwork is the name of the game in almost every patient care segment.
Unexpected situations are a daily occurrence in healthcare settings.
Technicians must remain flexible and adaptable to handle these inevitable occurrences.
Keeping up with the pace of healthcare technology requires technical competence and the ability to use computers and healthcare-related software.
Problems are bound to arise regarding patient care.
Savvy PCTs must be on their toes and able to quickly implement out-of-the-box solutions.
PCTs must be culturally sensitive and respect people from diverse backgrounds to provide competent and respectful medical care services.
The ability to handle physically demanding tasks like lifting patients and assisting them with mobility is a must-have for Patient Care Techs.