Can I Work as a PCT in Illinois once I have my RN license

  1. Okay guys, need some resources, advice, etc. I work at a major hospital in the chicago area as a PCT (I have been here for 5 years). I recently graduated nursing school, and will be sitting for boards in a couple weeks.

    MY ISSUE: Due to the wonderful economy, there is absolutely nothing available at any hospitals, including my own. My floor is overstaffed as it is right now. I really do not want to leave the facility I've been at for five years, and I've been speaking with my manager since the summer before my last year about my plans and how I want to stay on this unit. She said that I am next in line if something opens up, and that she would give me something now if she could, BUT she told me, worse case scenario is that I would have to stay a PCT for a couple months until something opens up.

    I need some major advice because I can't seem to find any definitive resource. My manager says she would let me stay working as a PCT if I couldn't transition to RN right away, but all the nurses I work with are telling me that once I have the piece of paper in my hand, I will pretty much be fired. I need something definitive to work with so I'm not left unemployed after working so hard for 2 years to get where I am today.
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    About kbobst81

    Joined: May '09; Posts: 10; Likes: 1
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  3. by   Ayvah
    What I've heard is that once you are an RN, you are expected to act in that capacity should an emergency occur. This can conflict with a PCT guidelines of what they are restricted to do, therefore, you can't work as a PCT while being a licensed RN.
  4. by   Jolie
    To my knowledge, there is no legal restriction which prevents an RN from working as a PCT.

    The conflict arises in terms of liability and whether you and your employer are willing to subject yourselves to the possibility of being sued for failing to act as a prudent RN would act in a given situation, if you were to encounter a situation as a PCT that you are unprepared as an RN to handle. For example, you take routine vitals on a patient and discover him to be lethargic. As a PCT, you would be responsible for promptly reporting this change to the nurse. Your duty to the patient ends there. But as an RN, you must go further. A prudent RN would do a full assessment and attempt to determine the reason for his change in mental status. But not having been oriented as an RN, you may be unaware of what the expectation would be for an RN in this situation. If you failed to properly assess the patient and he later suffered complications from an undetected low blood sugar, you and your employer might be liable for failing to act as a prudent RN would have acted.

    I believe that your manager is genuinely trying to find you a position. It would be a good idea to check with HR and find out if the institution allows licensed nurses to work as PCTs awaiting permanent RN positions. It doesn't help that the State of IL has done away with the license pending status, so you can't work as a GN. Delaying taking NCLEX is a crapshoot, since you won't be able to step into an RN position if one should open up unexpectedly.

    I feel your pain, and don't know of a good or easy answer to your dilemma. Best to you.