I am a sophmore pursuing first a BS degree in human biology, then going to become a PA.
Currently I work as an MHT (mental health tech) at a small hospital and a large hospital (one weekends, one weekdays). It is good to learn about psychology and some general med stuff (i.e. I can dress dry wounds or talk to patients about medication) but I don't want to stay in it too long. I am hoping the large hospital will transfer me to a medical unit eventually.
I am wondering, is patient care tech a good job to have while in nursing or PA school? What are some other good jobs where you can get hands on experience? I considered getting my phlebotomy license while in school but I don't really like the idea of giving shots and taking blood all day. Ideally I would work in surgery or maybe for an upscale psychiatric practice.
What are some other good jobs, if any? Has anyone done lab work or other medical jobs at hospitals that only require a certification? I have my CNA, ACE (personal training certif), CPR and will have PMAB coming up. Any recommendations would be helpful.
I am looking for a job where I can learn a lot. Someone recommended I apply as a medical tech at a penitentary because you do and learn way more than you ever could at a hospital. Anyone know if its worth the trade off? Would imagine not.
May 21, '09
I would suggest a PCA or CNA job in acute care (hospital setting) - that is, if you intend to work in acute care. Remember that besides learning your craft you are hoping to make connections for future employment - so try to find a job where you would like to work. That is what I did and it worked out for me...
May 21, '09
Acute care? What unit would that be on?
Ideally I want to be a PA doing family practice, general health stuff.
Yep the hospital I just got on doing weekdays is a great hospital so I am hoping I can move around internally there.
Also what's a PCA?
May 21, '09
A PCA is a patient care associate, AKA certified nurses aide, patient care tech, technical associate. Acute care would be an inpatient unit in a hospital where patients are acutely ill and are usually there short-term. Medical, surgical, telemetry, neuro, anything like that. It's a step under intensive care.
I don't think you could go wrong with working as an aide or tech on any inpatient acute care unit. You will be gaining experience in dealing with different types of patients, diagnoses, equipment, emergencies. You'd learn different skills like taking vital signs and drawing blood. All of those things will come in helpful while in school and while practicing as a PA. Working as a nurses aide while in nursing school really helped me to understand the material in class better because I could associate it with what I'd seen at work.
I'm not sure what would be out there for tech jobs in an outpatient (Dr. office or clinic) setting that would provide much for experience. What about an EMT? You'd have to take a course for that though.
May 21, '09
When I said acute care I was referring to med-surg ... Since you said your goal is PA in family practice, it sounds lik eyou will be headed for some sort of clinic setting? In any case, I think getting general acute care/med-surg experience will be valuable, since most advanced practice programs would like to see their candidates with general nursing experience.
May 22, '09
Thanks, this advice has all been helpful.
Yes I would like to work at a hospital at first, and definitely spend adequate time there, regardless of where I work after.
Well I start orientation at the large hospital Tuesday so I should learn more. I am thinking if I have 6-7 months experience in a hospital setting I could get hired as a patient care tech on a med-surge unit? This is having a CNA, and by then an associates of science or close to.
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