Patient Care Associate Training and Course Information

Also known as patient care technicians (PCTs), patient care associates provide hands-on assistance to patients under the supervision of a doctor or nurse. Those interested in starting a career as a PCT can receive training through certificate programs at several colleges and universities.

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Essential Information

PCTs provide assistance to several different types of hospital departments and must be cross-trained in many different areas. Certificate programs for patient care technicians include training as a phlebotomist and EKG technician. As with most medical professions, hands-on patient experience is a key element in training. Up to half of the students' time will be spent on-site at a medical facility. Course subjects will consist of the following concepts:

  • End-of-life care
  • Cardiac problems
  • Blood chemistry testing
  • Spirometry testing
  • Medical pronunciation

List of Courses

Medical Terminology Course

Terminology used in the medical field is far more specialized than it is in other industries. Students enrolled in a PCT program typically take the medical terminology course to learn about the structure and formation of common terms used in the profession. The course focuses on root words, prefixes and suffixes.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Course

Although sometimes integrated into a nursing assistant course, CPR may be taught in a separate session or as part of a general PCT training course. As students work toward certification, they learn to relieve foreign body airway obstructions, use an automated external defibrillator (AED), provide ventilation and more. Hands-on practice may be gained through training scenarios.

Electrocardiogram (EKG) Course

The EKG technician course provides experience and information on performing and interpreting EKGs. During the lecture portion, students learn the basics of the cardiovascular system, the use of electrocardiography and role of the EKG technician. Once classroom learning is complete, students move on to the clinical portion of the course. At that point they gain hands-on experience as an EKG technician under the supervision of a medical staff member.

Phlebotomy Course

PCTs typically take on the phlebotomist's duties, so students must learn about blood, the circulatory system and proper methods for handling specimen. Similar to the EKG course, the phlebotomy course is split between classroom and lab time. Lectures focus on anatomy and physiology, while lab sessions give students the opportunity to perform venipunctures.

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