Nurse Externship vs. Patient Care Tech summer job?

  1. 1
    Hi there!
    I'm a junior nursing student, and believe it or not the time has already come for me to need to decide what I'm doing over the summer of '14. Does anyone here have any insight on nurse externships vs PCT positions? Do PCTs still get the same amount of nursing experience as an extern would? I would love any insight from people who have done either position! Thank y'all so much!
    Blessings,
    Alicia
    kywoodrd likes this.

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  2. 3 Comments...

  3. 1
    I hate to say this (because it's not the answer you want) ... but it really is a matter of the individual position and institution. At my hospital, our externship program is limited to only 10 weeks and is specifically designed to give the selected students maximal preparation for being RN's in the future. They are always precepted by a staff nurse and focus on doing the things that preceptor does during the shift. So it is great if you are looking for a summer job only and want to really focus on the RN role and don't care about not being able to earn more money by working longer than 10 weeks and/or working overtime. If you want to work part time through the school year, our extern positions are not for you.

    At other hospitals, there is virtually no difference between an extern and a tech. The externs help out by doing things within the tech (or CNA) scope of practice and don't get to do things like give meds, start IV's, etc. They might not have a preceptor dedicated to them at all times, etc. In some hospitals, they may not be able to work full time. etc. It varies.

    When evaluating your opportunities, these are the types of questions you need to ask in order to determine which position best suits your particular needs.
    AliciaAdams likes this.
  4. 1
    lig is right. Externships vary a lot; mine was essentially a PCT role, expect that I could perform certain competencies (deep suction, foley insertion, central line dressing changes) with a nurse supervising me. A friend of mine was trained to do phlebotomy with her externship. Another shadowed a nurse for a few months and that was it. I do feel like I lost a lot of learning opportunities with the tech-style externship because I was required to do my job first and learn second. PCTs in my hospital are required to have their EMT certification, so that is another consideration.
    If I were you, I would find out what the requirements are for each job position and make your decision based on that. Either way, you will have your foot in the door for an RN job, and having that constant patient contact sets you apart from nursing students without those positions on their resume. Seriously, during clinicals in Fall semester of senior year, it was obvious who worked with patients over the summer and who didn't.
    AliciaAdams likes this.
  5. 1
    Quote from AliciaAdams
    Hi there!
    I'm a junior nursing student, and believe it or not the time has already come for me to need to decide what I'm doing over the summer of '14. Does anyone here have any insight on nurse externships vs PCT positions? Do PCTs still get the same amount of nursing experience as an extern would? I would love any insight from people who have done either position! Thank y'all so much!
    Blessings,
    Alicia
    It depends on the hospital and even the department. The floor's nurse externs are basically patient care techs but they earn a little bit more. However, our nurse externs can do a bit more like put meds into our program and insert foleys. Some have put in IVs. However, apparently the patient care techs can do the meds but they fought against doing it and never trained the newer people on it.

    The main difference in my department is the hours. Nurse externs work weekends like every third weekend but can pick up pct hours but the pcts have set hours like 16 hours a week.

    Ultimately, I would pick whoever hires you first. You may or may not get hired as all nursing students want nurse externs and pct positions. Also, you may or may not want to tell them you want a summer position as they may choose not to hire you just for the summer. Our pct and nurse externs work year around.

    Our nurse externs do not have preceptors assigned to them and instead are basically pcts.
    AliciaAdams likes this.


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