PCA and Nurse Aide, what's the difference

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    Hello All Willing to Read,
    I am new to Nursing but have been attending college for some time, I let the military get in the way of it. Anyway, I would like to know if there is a real difference in PCA and Nurse Aide. A local health care office offers PCA or I can take two classes through my current college for Nurse Aide. Want to weigh my options as far as the knowledge I would gain, not necessarily the pay. Thanks if anyone decides to respond.


    Signed
    ConstantLearner
  2. 13 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    i dunno i dont think there is much of the difference. you assist the nurse (RN) in the stuff she doesnt have time for or things that will free up her time thats in your scope of practice. i know at the hospital pca give bed baths, vital signs, change beds and patients.
  4. 0
    CNA's are found mostly in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, etc. They do things such as vitals and assisting (or doing - depending on the abilities of the resident) with activities of daily living. It is usually a one semester class that is divided up between lecture and clinicals. The pay can range anywhere from $8.00-$14.00 per hour (of course, this can vary). The work is hard and the job is thankless. But the experience is good.

    PCT's have a better chance of getting in at a hospital. They do what CNA's do except they are also trained in blood draws, EKG's, and a few other minor nursing duties. The pay is usually (again, this can vary) more than a CNA. I can't give you a ballpark range because I am not a PCT but I do know someone who is working in the ER at a local hospital and she is making $22/hour at 19 years old!
  5. 0
    Quote from KareBear0609
    PCT's have a better chance of getting in at a hospital.
    Your comments are accurate but the OP asked about PCA (Personal Care Attendant in my area), not PCT.
  6. 0
    Quote from ConstantLearner2010
    Want to weigh my options as far as the knowledge I would gain, not necessarily the pay.
    Yes, there is a real difference, depending on what state you are in. I would advise the CNA (Nurse's Aide) route if you want to become a nurse. Many PCAs I have seen don't actually perform any ADLs, but rather help with cooking, homemaking and safety supervision. They can still make decent money and get good experience but if you are looking for experience and knowledge, go CNA.
  7. 1
    Here's my take: I've been employed in both capacities. I took a four week CNA course (no phlebotomy or EKG training) and after passing my state certification test, got a job as a PCT at a major teaching hospital. Received on the job training in phlebotomy/EKG/etc. After relocating, I was then hired at another hospital as a PCA (patient care assistant). Again, received facility-specific training in phlebotomy/EKG/etc.

    What's my point? In my experience, they are the exact same thing. In order to be hired, I, of course, needed to have a CNA certificate, but each facility provided whatever training I needed to do the job and I just had a fancier title.
    Stellabells22 likes this.
  8. 0
    I am a C.NA with a license (went through the program and took state boards). I work at a hospital; the term PCA and C.NA are interchangeable where I work; we all do the same thing (vitals, change beds,give showers, take patients to bathroom, take blood sugars as needed, remove peripheral IV's when patients leave, etc.) and make the same amount of money...which isn't much!
  9. 0
    Quote from 2ndyearstudent
    Your comments are accurate but the OP asked about PCA (Personal Care Attendant in my area), not PCT.
    Oh sorry. I thought PCA was patient care assistant which is the same thing as PCT (patient care technician) in my area.
  10. 0
    PCA and PCT are the same thing in my state. And they work in hospitals. They are able to do more than nurse aides. They get paid more.

    CNA/STNA/Nurse Aide's work in nursing homes in my state.
  11. 0
    Quote from 2ndyearstudent
    Yes, there is a real difference, depending on what state you are in. I would advise the CNA (Nurse's Aide) route if you want to become a nurse. Many PCAs I have seen don't actually perform any ADLs, but rather help with cooking, homemaking and safety supervision. They can still make decent money and get good experience but if you are looking for experience and knowledge, go CNA.
    Clearly we don't live in the same area because I've never heard of or seen a PCA/PCT cook and do "homemaking." The one's I know do ADL's and even more than CNA's as they are allowed to do more than CNA's. CNA's in my state work in nursing homes. In my state, being a PCA/PCT is better experience than a CNA/STNA/Nurse Aide as you are exposed to more things than you would be in a nursing home.


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