PCA with no Training/Experience

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    Hey guys,
    First of all I'm glad I found this forum because It's really rich in topics and information.
    I just got hired by a hospital for a PCA "Patient Care Assistant" position and I'm starting in two weeks. I never got any kind of PCA/CNA training or experience. All I know is how to take the vital signs, and customer service skills. I also studied medicine in my home country, so I know alot in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, histology, pathology, parasitology, pharmacology etc...
    But I have no clue what I'm gonna do and/or if I'm gonna be successful at it?? What do you guys think? I'm really worried that I'm gonna fail and they are gonna kick me out of the hospital.
    How can I be a great PCA? is there any courses that I can take to enhance my career? I'm going to nursing school next year, hopefully.
    Thank you
    lindarn and sonomala like this.
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    I don't get it either. I was a PCT (patient care tech --- same as PCA), in hospital, but you could not be trained without having a CNA. There is too much to learn working in a hospital after you have your basic skill set you got in CNA training.

    So, please post once you've been on the job and let us know if you're getting on-the-job training or not.

    Around here, with everyone litigation happy, you must be a CNA to work with patients. Too much damage you can do to a patient with no background at all.
  5. 1
    Quote from rancelumsden
    I don't get it either. I was a PCT (patient care tech --- same as PCA), in hospital, but you could not be trained without having a CNA. There is too much to learn working in a hospital after you have your basic skill set you got in CNA training.

    So, please post once you've been on the job and let us know if you're getting on-the-job training or not.

    Around here, with everyone litigation happy, you must be a CNA to work with patients. Too much damage you can do to a patient with no background at all.
    I didn't claim to have anything that I don't have when I was in the interviews. I told them the Truth that I only have customer service experience and I know how to take the vital signs. I've been through 4 interviews with this hospital and nobody seemed to care about the training and/or the experience. I think they train the new hires. I know a friend that just got hired 2 month ago by the same hospital, and she didn't have a clue of anything, and she is just fine now. She tells me about how excited she is about the new experiences she go through everday..
    What clinical skills do you really need to have to become a PCA?
    Thanks
    Smurfette752 likes this.
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    I wouldn't worry about it too much. I work as a CNA in the UK and you aren't required to be certified or trained before starting here. I walked into my job pretty blind too. Just make sure you tell the nurses you're working with what you do and don't know how to do and if you're unsure, ask! I'm sure they will give some training or at least a lot of initial support.

    As for clinical skills it depends on the area you work in but, learning how to move patients safely is important. For example what's the best way to help a patient get out of bed who has had surgery recently or who is weak. Maybe you will learn about washing patients, preventing bed sores, doing dressings. Helping to feed patients who may have trouble swallowing. Maybe you will learn how to do ECGs or other tests. Not sure what else really. A lot of it is common sense and care. Things that you would do to make your baby or grandparent comfortable and happy.

    I think your customer service will serve you in good stead. To be honest sometimes being a CNA is like being a go-between between patients and nurses. You can only help a patient yourself about a half the time because there is a lot that you cannot do yourself and can only relay to the nurse. Which is why I'm applying to nursing school!

    I'm sure you will do great especially with your medical background. The first few weeks are a real eyeopener.
    sonomala and D.C.Guy like this.
  7. 1
    I was hired as a PCT (patient care tech). I was a CNA at the time. My scope of practice was much greater as a PCT. I was nervous at first but the hospital taught me how to do everything that was required of a PCT (way more than I ever did as a CNA). I spent the first week or two just learning the charting system, policy and procedures, and clinical skills. I am sure the hospital is planning on training you. It wouldn't make sense for them to expect you to know how to do things that only a PCA would know how to do when it is obvious you have no medical experience. If they do not train you then I would suggest looking for a new employer. You don't want to work somewhere that will take anyone off the street so to speak....

    Always always always ask if you are unsure of how to do something and let the nurses & other PCA's you are working with know that you are new to PCA work.

    I am sure that you will do great! Good luck.
    D.C.Guy likes this.
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    They should offer an orientation to train you in the skills you need if you have not acquired them. I used to be a PCA, and we did fingersticks, phlebotomy, EKGs, schedule appointments, and dressings, to name a few, in addition to CNA duties. I had already been certified as a phlebotomist and CNA before then, so, that wasn't too difficult. I suspect you'll do fine!
    Smurfette752, D.C.Guy, and calledtodo like this.
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    When you are not certified the expectation of recieving pretty good is lower and if you don't stay, they can easily find someone to replace you. Remember that. You should recieve a little more training once you start working. I am glad to have my CNA because I can get hired in places that are looking for that. They appreciate you a little better vs. PCA with no certification.
    D.C.Guy likes this.
  10. 1
    What clinical skills do you really need to have to become a PCA?

    All of them! You need to be aware of standard procedures for gowning and gloving, how to transfer so that you and the patient are safe, feeding, diapering, bed baths and peri care, making beds (especially occupied bed which takes some practice), charting.

    Of course, you can be trained in this at the hospital as we were in CNA class. After those basic skills, then you learn all the specific procedures in the facility --- admits, discharge, computer charting, labs, tests, possibly EKG's, scd's, heart monitor, setup/breakdown of suctioning/02, glucometer, etc.

    It's simply a lot to learn all at once. But, they may have a good training program --- hopefully, they do...
    D.C.Guy likes this.
  11. 0
    Quote from calledtodo
    When you are not certified the expectation of recieving pretty good is lower and if you don't stay, they can easily find someone to replace you. Remember that. You should recieve a little more training once you start working. I am glad to have my CNA because I can get hired in places that are looking for that. They appreciate you a little better vs. PCA with no certification.
    I was already certified as a CNA and phlebotomist by the time I was hired for the position of PCA. It is better to try and hold on to all certifications because if you have none, and lose the PCA job, you cannot get hired at an agency or a nursing home really quickly due to the lack of CNA certification.

    Even as an LPN, now, I keep my phlebotomy certification up. I plan to work for a lab occasionally just to draw blood. Less headaches, sometimes.
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    Thank you guys so much for all the useful feedback. It was really enlightening. I just called my friend who was the one that told me about that position originally. She has been a PCA with that hospital for 2 months now. She said the hospital "IS PLANNING TO TRAIN YOU" in the first couple weeks. She even said that if I need more training, they will give it to me as needed. And that I'll have the chance to shadow PCAs before I actually start working. And that they will teach me everything I need to be a great PCA.

    Also, I just received my orientation schedule from the hospital. It is really interesting that they are serious about training me. They don't seem to expect me to have any previous experience. They are going to give me training in the first week in: Patient satisfaction and customer service, computer, body mechanics, and blood glucose monitoring training.

    OMG, I'm so excited I'm going to learn all those skills. I'm going to nursing school next summer and the hospital is going to pay for my nursing school too. And they will pay for any clinical course I choose to take. I'm planning on taking advantage of that benefit. I want to get certified as a CNA, Phlebotomist, ...etc.

    What courses do you guys think I should take to make me really good at my job "They are paying for any clinical courses" ? I have to use this tuition reimbursement benefit, it's so tempting.
    Thank you all again.


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