Hi. I worked as a student nurse associate in the preop/pacu of a large urban teaching hospital for over a year. We had pca's there as well, which i'm guessing is very similar to pct's (patient care techs).
I really loved working in that area because you really see a lot, although at times it sure feels repetitive. Our preop area is always so busy, especially in the early morning. It's also fast-paced, with the turnover of patients, and all the surgeons, residents, anesthesia, abd the rest of the OR teams talking to patients all at once (everyone wants to get their job done! Lol).
I'm really confident with the skills I learned there, from phlebotomy to venipuncture, EKG acquisition, and physical assessments. I'm not sure what your hospital's job description is for techs but it's probably not that different.
In PACU, you really get to hone your assessment skills and critical thinking. If you get a pt coming out of the OR, you gotta know what to assess and pay special attention to in terms of the procedure they had done, and of course close monitoring is very important as they are still sedated.
I also got to learn more about EKG rhythms, beyond what they'd teach in nursing school
. And i had my coworkers always giving me strips to practice and read.
We don't get a lot of codes (thank god), but i've seen a few while working there. I got to help out in two codes, just a runner, but it was still roetty exciting! And i learn so much from watching everyone else help and call out things abd do/work on the pt. It really is a learning experience!
Another good experience I had while working there is that I actually got to interact with the doctors and the rest of the healthcare/OR team. If there was a lab value that came back critical, i got to tell the doctor myself. They really let us function as a nurse (with limitations of course).
My hours were pretty flexible too since I was still in school then. I would work from 4am to 4:30pm if i wanted to do a 12-hr shift, and sometimes i would do a 16hr shift from 4-830p.
Anyway, hope this helps! I really loved it and really learned a lot. Having awesome coworkers that are willing to help and teach really made a difference too!