Typically, patient care programs are at the certificate level and are taught with a variety of hands-on, lecture and practical learning lessons. Students must have a high school diploma or GED to enroll. These programs often prepare students for other competency exams in phlebotomy, laboratory procedures, and electrocardiography. Depending on the state in which you live, you might gain the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) credential upon passing your competency exam.
Certificate in Patient Care
Students in a patient care certificate program will learn how to care for patients in some type of healthcare facility and assist them in such tasks as grooming, eating or just getting out of bed. Often times, PCTs are the eyes and ears of doctors and nurses, being able to relay first-hand observations and knowledge of patients and how they are with regard to their general condition, attitude and well-being. In addition to taking any required general education classes, students in a patient care certificate program can expect to do clinical exercises and learn about the following topics:
- Vital signs
- Medical terminology
- Anatomy and physiology
- CPR and first aid
- Medical exam assisting
Popular Career Options
A PCT will be responsible for assisting patients with tasks that they may have a hard time doing themselves while staying in a hospital, assisted living facility, nursing home or other such facility. Under the direction and supervision of a physician or registered nurse, these professionals can expect to perform duties including taking vital signs such as weight, height and blood pressure, specimen collection and testing, various patient treatments, nutritional assistance and feeding, mobility assistance and exercises, and general patient care.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
With the increased need for long-term healthcare for the aging population, the job outlook for nursing assistants will be good from 2018 through 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov). Faster-than-average job growth of 9% is expected over this time frame, with trained nursing assistants particularly having good prospects. These professionals will be able to find employment in such facilities as hospitals, home care, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. As of May 2018, nursing assistants were paid a mean wage of $29,580 a year.
A patient care certificate program combines hands-on experience and coursework in classes ranging from anatomy and physiology to CPR and first aid. Graduates will use what they learned in the program to assist patients under supervision of a licensed healthcare professional.