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May 21, 2012
Many people are interested in pursuing a career in health care, but the wealth of options can be overwhelming to some. The patient care technician (PCT) program at Piedmont Technical College may be the perfect starting point for those who feel a calling to go into the industry, but aren’t sure which area they are best suited to enter.
“The patient care technician program is a very broad program that offers the student several job opportunities once they finish the program,” said Shelley Hood, instructor.
Students learn the basic PCT skills, but they are also exposed to other areas of health care, including medical and surgical sterilization, cardiac monitoring, phlebotomy and clerical skills related to patient care.
Based at the Newberry County Campus, the program meets the needs of the students by providing a program that is fast and can lead to a fulfilling career or provide the base for any number of other health care professions. The program is three semesters, with the basic level courses being taught in the first semester and the advanced level courses taught in the second semester. The third semester is reserved for clinical rotations.
Upon completion of the program, students will be Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) and will sit for the National Certified Patient Care Technician (NCPCT), National Certified Phlebotomy Technician (NCPT) and National Certified EKG Technician (NCET) exams.
“This program has been great as a stepping stone to the associate degree nursing program,” said Amber Bensley of Prosperity. “We have a lot of knowledge that will go hand in hand with the nursing program.”
The breadth of opportunity available to those who complete the program is one of the most compelling reasons to enter the PCT field. Upon completion of the program, students will be Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) and will sit for the National Certified Patient Care Technician (NCPCT), National Certified Phlebotomy Technician (NCPT) and National Certified EKG Technician (NCET) exams. Students will also be prepared to sit for the National Certified Health Unit Coordinator exam.
“I thought about going into nursing because I had already earned my CNA and I wanted to help people more,” said Theresa Turner of Newberry. “I decided to start here with this program and I actually enjoy this more. This is what I want to do.”
The use of patient care technicians is a relatively new, but growing, concept. As health care facilities search for certified personnel to cover multiple areas, the demand for trained PCTs will continue to increase.
“It’s called cross-training and hospitals have used the concept for years,” Hood said. “For example, many phlebotomists are being trained to run EKGs. The PCT graduate can do this, without extra training from the hospitals, making them a valuable asset.”
For more information on the patient care technician program, contact Jennifer Moore at (803) 276-9000, ext. 222 or Jerry Alewine, dean of health science, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Caption: Patient care technician student Amber Bensley, right, practice skills necessary in the patient care technician field under the watchful eye of instructor Shelley Hood.