Hi! I have experience as a PCT in the ER and they liked us to have one year of schooling under our belts before working as a PCT. Everyone on any floors that I've spoken to loves nursing students as techs. And some places will train you, so I've heard.
The duties of a PCT are generally vitals, helping w/ ambulation, linens and bed baths if indicated or helping the patient with them, and depending on your agency bg's. Plus helping the nurses of course.
I think that it is really worth it to get a job as a tech in any discipline. My three months in the ED really really helped clarify what it is that nurses do. And you are right that probably mother/baby nursing is competitive but you won't know til you call! WHy not call the nurse recruiter there and talk to her?
Mother/baby is a great place to work; I am starting as a post partum nurse on June 5, four days after I graduate!