PCA vs CNA

  1. 0
    I was just wondering what is the difference between a PCA (Patient Care Assistant) and a CNA? One of the local hospitals has an employment listing on their website, and one of the qualifications the ask for is that the person be a CNA. I guess I just assumed that both positions were the same. What responsibilities does a PCA have that makes it different from a CNA?

    Thanks!
    Cryssi
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  4. 18 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    CNA - Certified Nursing Assistant -is a state license that you have to take classes and pass a test to earn.
    hospitals often have different names for people with CNA licenses. At my hospital they are called Hospital assistants, some places call them health care assistants, "techs" (techs can also mean something else, depending on the state I beleive). It sounds like the place you saw calls them PCA's probably "patient care assistants". In all cases they help the patients do their hygeine care, taking vital sings, and various other things which are determined by the state and the hospital.
    hope this answers your question
    nancymorales138 likes this.
  6. 1
    First of all CNAs are not licensed by the state. They are state certified and must be in the states certification registry data base. CNAs may work on a Nursing Home Floor, in a Hospital, Med surg, Obstetric and Pediatric Dept, ICU, ER, etc. If you notice in a Hospital every patient has there own CNA, LPN, and RN assigned to them. CNAs may alos work in home health agencies, going from house to house seeing up to 10 patients a day bathing them, assisting with their wound dressings, and obtain their blood glucose reading and vital signs. CNAs are certified medical professionals, who perform entry level medical tasks, PCAs or Caregivers are employed by non medical personal care service agencies, wich provide non medical care tasks such as feeding, brushing, doing laundry, wheeling, for elderly or disabled!!!
    Jessicainsantafe likes this.
  7. 0
    In my state, the requirement to even get a PCA/PCT job is to either have your CNA license, have already worked as a PCA/PCT in the past however many months, or have completed the first semester of nursing clinicals (in which you learn all the required skills of a CNA plus more). One of the hospital systems and another private hospital in this area still train PCA/PCTs on the job, its I think a 4 or 6 week class but its so hard to get into. In the hospitals around here, a CNA does exactly what a PCA/PCT does. A CNA can also be hired in the rehab hospitals, nursing homes, etc because they have that license.
  8. 0
    My hospital in NJ uses both CNA's and PCT's (Patient Care Technician). PCT's are only used in critical care and the ER, CNA's are every where else.

    The only difference between a CNA and a PCT is that the PCT has the ability to perform EKG's, hooking up telemetry pt's and drawing blood. They are working on giving all the CNA's more training so they can become PCT's as well.
  9. 0
    I work in a ER of a Level One Trauma Center. In the ER we get specialized training on top of the training required to do our tasks such as EKGs, phlebotomy and the basic PCT tasks. The big difference for us is that the majority of our MA's/PCTs in the ER come with EMT or some type of other background training. Typically they will not hire CNAs in the ER because they need to be able to recognize emergencies quickly as well as having the ability to work with up to 16 patients and 4-6 nurses simultaneously, now that's not saying that they probably wouldn't hire a CNA, but EMTs and others with ER backgrounds make much better PCTs when the **** hits the fan. I know everywhere else in the hospital they use CNAs which they refer to as Hospital Assistants.
  10. 0
    I feel like there's such a fine line between a Cna and a pca. Apparently according to the home health care agency i work for a pca can do anything as long it's" client directed". Which is strange... for example as a cna I can't suction a client but as a pca i can...
  11. 0
    Quote from JLoya
    I work in a ER of a Level One Trauma Center. In the ER we get specialized training on top of the training required to do our tasks such as EKGs, phlebotomy and the basic PCT tasks. The big difference for us is that the majority of our MA's/PCTs in the ER come with EMT or some type of other background training. Typically they will not hire CNAs in the ER because they need to be able to recognize emergencies quickly as well as having the ability to work with up to 16 patients and 4-6 nurses simultaneously, now that's not saying that they probably wouldn't hire a CNA, but EMTs and others with ER backgrounds make much better PCTs when the **** hits the fan. I know everywhere else in the hospital they use CNAs which they refer to as Hospital Assistants.
    Any CNA/PCT with the proper training should be able to recognize an emergency immediately. Some of it comes from experience, and some comes from just being trained to recognize the lets say the signs of a stroke, or the PCT being able to identify a lethal heart rhythm / evidence of infarction on an EKG.

    As for the ability to work with up to 16 pt's and 4 -6 nurses... that would be a holiday to any CNA. I work in one of the busiest ER's in my state and that sounds like a good day lol
  12. 0
    CNAs have a license in my state. PCT is usually CNA plus training for ekg and phlebotomy. PCA is the same thing. The title depends on the facility. Most EDs hire EMTs and OB depts hire scrub techs.
  13. 0
    I have read on here that in some states, CNAs are actually 'licensed.' In my state they are not licensed, they are certified. It is one my pet peeves when someone says "oh, I have to renew my CNA license." But, I digress... Usually no certification is required for a PCA/PCT. Here PCAs do not work in LTC...CNAs do. PCAs can work in assisted living and in hospitals.


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