Published Jun 16, 2020
I am in nursing school. I applied to work as a PCT to gain applicable healthcare experience and have a "leg up" over some of my classmates in terms of knowledge and experience. Most everyone has said working as a PCT or CNA in nursing school provides phenomenal experience, but I have barely seen that. I spend almost all shift cleaning pts, feeding pts, and taking vitals. I have had some phenomenal nurses who let me pass meds with them and even walked me through how to perform some technical skills, but for the most part I feel so discouraged that I am doing "grunt work" and hardly gaining applicable nursing experience. I wear a badge buddy that says "Student Nurse" and introduce myself as a nursing student every shift I work and yet some RNs don't care while some CNAs stick their noses up at me and don't want to help. I am torn as to whether it is worth it to keep at this. I got hired at one of the biggest health systems in my state, so my fear is if I quit this early I will be placed on a "no rehire" status which I certainly do not want once I graduate.
Vent over. I have such deep respect for all the techs and CNAs out there after just two weeks of doing this job full time. I am just not cut out for the CNA part of nursing for 12 hours, 3 days a week, when that is all that I do. I am far more interested in learning about the drugs and the procedures, and honestly I am not even that good at basic care (ironically, because pharm happens to be my favorite subject and it is objectively more difficult of a nursing concept). Any encouragement or advice is appreciated.
Natasha A., CNA, LVN
I love your eagerness to learn attitude. ? It will get you far in health care. You seem very interested in learning about drugs and procedures which is fine, but you also mentioned that you are not that good in basic care. I say hang in there and try to work on setting goals for yourself to work improving your basic care skills first. Basic care skills is not only considered grunt work, but it can feel that way when you are a nursing student learning more advance procedures. I really hope you change your heart on looking at being a PCT as grunt work and see it as you making a contribution for your team. Focus on the big picture. You are valuable girl ? Being a PCT will help you learn time management and when you become a RN, you will have a leg up understanding how to manage your PCT's because you were once one. It will help with your communication skills too because as a RN you will need to delegate to PCTs and sometimes how you approach your PCT makes all the difference. I really wish there was something else I can say but hang in there you can do this. While you are there find someone you can at least shadow or observe. You are still learning and grasping a lot of great information as a student nurse. There are many learning opportunities.
Also, to add to your resume, If you are interested in medication why not look into becoming a med tech
also, I recommend to stay because depending on your long term goal, working now as a PCT is a resume booster
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