What is the difference between PCT and CNA?

  1. Help!

    I'd never heard of a Nurse Tech until recently. How do their responsibilities compare to a CNA? or PCA?
  2. Visit daisygarten profile page

    About daisygarten

    Joined: Jul '12; Posts: 43; Likes: 15
    Former Teacher/ Nursing Student; from US


  3. by   NurseMaybeBaby
    I work in the ER as a nurse tech, previously an ER tech.
    At my particular facility and unit, a nurse tech is within 6 months of graduation from an accredited RN program. The skills are the same (vitals, caths, monitors, erc) but you shadow a nurse. I learn more about assessment and charting. It's the next step before an RN position. It's meant to "begin the orientation process" before graduation and actual hiring. I believe their theory is to have someone begin learning and have less time orienting at RN pay. And to provide a smoother transition. There are two of us graduating in December and we are hopeful that we will be offered full time RN positions.

    It's different everywhere I'm sure, but that's how it works in my world.
  4. by   daisygarten
    I love the shadowing component, like a paid apprenticeship, right? I hope you and your fellow students get offered a position. Can you be hired as a "pre-RN" until you pass your NCLEX?
  5. by   poog
    You can get permit after rn school before nclex
  6. by   funtimes
    Can you be hired as a "pre-RN" until you pass your NCLEX?
    Ive seen "Nurses" hired to the Hospital I work at who are "GN"s (Graduate Nurses) instead of RNs. They have graduated from Nursing school but havent taken the NCLEX. Im not sure if or how their scope differs from RN as they were going through orientation while still a GN. They may just keep them on orientation until they pass the NCLEX, or I suppose if they fail in which case theyd probably be fired or asked to quit.

    I think Nurse Techs are different from PCTs in that they can do more.

    As for the difference between PCT and CNA, I think it varies depending on the hospital. In some cases it might just be different titles for the same job, but usually a PCT does blood draws, inserts foleys, and performs 12 leads, which are things CNA school doesnt cover, at least the one I went to.
  7. by   SlaveHeart
    As a CNA what additional training does one have to take to become a PCT? Should I take a phlebotomy course or a EKG class? If so where do I find them? The community college here does not offer those classes. Thanks
  8. by   funtimes

    I think it depends on the state to some degree, and maybe even the specific hospital. There arent any PCT schools where I live, assuming such a thing even exists. Here PCTs are either just CNAs who get classes in the hospital after getting hired along with OJT, or are Nursing students whove already been trained in the additional skills required.

    Wouldnt hurt to take a phlebotomy and EKG class though, again assuming such training is even available where you live.
  9. by   kgregg
    I was under the impression PCT's replaced the CNA in the hospitals? PCT's have a lil more "schooling" phlebotomy... EKG...
  10. by   heydelilah
    Quote from kgregg
    I was under the impression PCT's replaced the CNA in the hospitals? PCT's have a lil more "schooling" phlebotomy... EKG...
    That must definitely vary by facility. When I was a PCT (said so on my badge!) we were interchangeable with those with CNA on their badge (we were all certified nurse assistants by the state, regardless). We did, however have nurse techs/externs/interns (3rd and 4th semester RN students) in the facility who did basic technical skills but not assessments and med passes (IVs, drsg changes, etc).
  11. by   KLBatchelor
    Where I'm from you can become a nurse tech after your first semester of nursing school. The local hospital has a nurse tech program for those students, which is generally 6-10 hours a week and you get paid for it.

    This helps out tremendously with getting experience for after you graduate and are searching for an RN position.
  12. by   Nolli
    Where I'm at there are various types of tech positions and they may allow you to do more or less than CNAs depending on the facility and the position itself. Some hospitals use techs in the ER to do things like transport, starting IV lines, phlebotomy, assisting during codes, and doing ECGs even putting on casts etc. I've seen CNAs on the upper floors, but never in the ER, but it could just be those facilities. They do a lot of ADLs, vitals, I&O and also assist during codes.
  13. by   lalopop86
    At my hospital, all CNAs are called "nurse techs." We cannot draw blood or do EKGs, etc. unless our specific department has trained us to do so. I guess it varies everywhere.
  14. by   daisygarten
    Thanks for the insights--
    After talking with a 30+ year experienced RN today, I wonder if working as a PCT is worth it. She says PCTs are often overworked and the experience they gain in clinicals is adequate. However, if the student nurse PCTs are funneled through as potential hires for the hospital as RNs, I would think their experience would be closely attended to.