Jump to content

How do I position myself to get hired in an ER as a PCT?

Posted

Specializes in IMCU. Has 9 years experience.

Hello all!

I am a student nurse and would love to work as a tech in an ER while I am at school. In your ERs is it necessary to be an EMT to be a PCT? Are there exceptions? What about CNAs?

When I qualify as an RN I would like to work in an ER...ultimately. I am trying to work strategically during school.

Any advice would be GREAT!

p.s. I know that some of you will object to the idea of working in an ER fresh out of school. I respect your opinions and would also love to know what you suggest as a route.

Thanks to those who respond!

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 12 years experience.

In our EDs, it is preferred that PCTs have some sort of EMS experience, but it's not required. When I went to work as a PCT, I was (and still am) a paramedic (EMT-P). Most of our other PCTs were at least EMT-Basics (EMT-Bs). However, one of my favorite PCTs has no EMS background; her only ED experience was as a unit secretary, but she's now in nursing school and took to the role of PCT very quickly.

As a paramedic, I was hired as a PCT II. EMT-Bs were generally hired as PCT I. Just a small difference in pay, really.

I would make sure that you have your BLS certification, at a minimum, and start checking with your local facilities.

After I finished nursing school, I went straight to the ED -- same ED where I was a PCT since 2005. So I'm not going to bash anyone for going straight to the ED out of school! :D

DolceVita, BSN, RN

Specializes in IMCU. Has 9 years experience.

Thanks LunahRN.

I really want to take the EMTB course at my local college but priority is given to those starting as volunteers with local EMS. My city doesn't take volunteer EMTs (you have to be firefighter and EMT) and I live too far from the local villages that do use volunteers. Bummer.

In fact I would like to go all the way through to paramedic training as I gather it can be VERY useful.

mykidzmom

Specializes in oncology, med/surg (all kinds).

I did what you want to do. I will tell you how I did it, but it might not be the best way to go about it. I should not admit this.... I was a CNA in nursing school and thought I would like to be an ED nurse. They would not hire CNAs. So, the first thing I did was to make sure I got the managers name of the ED. Yes, I was a bit devious, and called the ED saying I had been a patient and I was so impressed with my care I wanted to write a letter, would they be kind enough to tell me the nurse manager's name (and I made sure I got the correct spelling).

I sent in my resume and cover letter to HR, knowing full well I would get a rejection letter. I did. But, I also sent my resume and a different cover letter directly to the manager of the ED. I tried to explain in a non-desperate sounding way how much I wanted to get my foot in the door not just at any hospital but at THAT hospital (which was true). I sold myself well as a CNA and nursing school student, convincing her to at least give me a chance at an interview.

I was called. At that hospital they do peer interviews. The things I stressed at my peer interview (male EMTs--me a female CNA) and I expressed my willingness to do whatever was necessary. The hospital had new grad RNs sign a contract at hire. My argument to the PCTs was basically that I was sure I wanted to be an ED nurse, and I definitely wanted to work there so it was to their benefit (I'm sure I worded it much more humbly than this) to hire me now to make sure I could hack it--better to find out before I signed a 2 year contract as an RN then find out I sucked or hated it then they were stuck with a miserable and or sucky RN they would have to answer to.

I was hired. And guess what? It was a great decision for them and me to hire me as a PCT. Because I couldn't hack it. I hated it and I sucked. Turns out, I do NOT like the adrenalin rush of the trauma helicopter coming in or trying to get a manual BP on a bleeding thrashing patient. So, i ended my employment there--on very good terms. But I'm sure those EMTs were glad they got rid of me before I got hired as an RN!!!!!

That was about 10 years ago.....Love nursing. Took me a while to find my niche. Good luck. Sometimes you just have to explain to the right person why you should be given a chance.

cjcsoon2bnp, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Emergency Nursing.

DolceVita do you mind telling us what state your in? It might help because another user might be from your state and could offer you advice a little more specific to you. I'm from RI and I work at a large teaching hospital here so I know a little bit about the ER techs. in this state. Let us know!

!Chris :specs:

DolceVita, BSN, RN

Specializes in IMCU. Has 9 years experience.

DolceVita do you mind telling us what state your in? It might help because another user might be from your state and could offer you advice a little more specific to you. I'm from RI and I work at a large teaching hospital here so I know a little bit about the ER techs. in this state. Let us know!

!Chris :specs:

OK

I am in Wisconsin

TiggerBelly

Specializes in ALF, Medical, ER. Has 4 years experience.

I managed to get in because I was already working in the hospital on the medical floor. I was getting bored with my job, so I inquired about the ER and was lucky enough to get in. It helped that I had the previous experience of working on the floor and was also attending school. I love my ER job (most days) and have learned alot from working there.

I got hired by taking a job as a PCT as a float and having Phlebotomy skills. Our ER likes having Techs around who can do draw stat labs instead of waiting for phlebotomy all the live long day.

I tried to get hired at two(2) Trauma 1 Centers in Utah for over a year and each time they let me know they'd be happy to hire me once I acquired my EMT-B License. I got my EMT-B and 2 weeks later I was orienting in the largest ER in the Mountain West. So far I couldn't be happier, I have learned soooo much. It was the best choice of my life to get my EMT-B. It has opened so many doors. I can now set an 18 gauge IV without even thinking about it. This job is going to give me a huge advantage in nursing school! :yeah: I'm on my way to being a flight nurse. yay

FirefighterDoug

Specializes in Pediatric emergency medicine.

Get in line and be patient there are many well qualified applicants but the good news is that the turnover rate for techs is very high. Most techs move on to bigger and better things. In four years I have seen more than 20 people shuffle thru our facility.

Outside experience is a plus but not required. Having the ability to multi task and think ahead are the critical skills in the tech position. I like to know what my RN's will need and have it for them long before they ask. Having a patient roomed,gowned,vitals done and on monitor before being asked is a good example of thinking ahead. Knowing who will need an EKG within ten minutes of arrival and having that done is another example. Also have you ever worked or volunteered in an emergency environment? I ask this because you would not be the first person who thought the ER was for them but after a few shifts and some exposure to the less desirable "conditions' decided that maybe another area of patient care might be a better option. Just checking!

With that said be ready to give a good interview, you may only have one shot so get ready to shine and out sell the competition. If you get called for an interview PM me and I will give you some "nuggets" and some do's and dont's that will give you a little advantage. Good luck!

DolceVita, BSN, RN

Specializes in IMCU. Has 9 years experience.

Thanks for all of the advice!!!!

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.