Nursing Student does not like PCT job

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I am currently a level 3 nursing student. I work prn nights as a PCT at a local hospital. I always dread going to work on the nights I'm scheduled. I don't like going. While I'm there I do my job well. The patients and the nurses I work with always pay me compliments. But I really do not like the job. Should I stick it out another 10 months? I have been at the hospital 7 months, is that enough experience to put on my resume once I graduate and start looking for a nursing job?

    Dear Does Not Like PCT Job,

    Working as a PCT as a nursing student is really not about PCT resume experience. It’s about your future employment as an RN.

    The benefit of working as a PCT is being visible and making connections- networking. Networking to ensure your future new grad RN job. Look at every shift worked as an investment in your future.

    Nursing students who apply for new grad positions and are already employees are way ahead of the game.

    It’s not the PCT experience as much as the insider advantage. Nursing managers want to hire someone like yourself, who has done a good job, who gets along with her/his co-workers, and who is a good fit.

    Work fewer shifts if you like, but introduce yourself to the charge nurses and nurse manager. “Hi, I’ll be graduating soon and would love an opportunity to work on this unit.” You want to be seen as a future RN (which you are).

    I hope this motivates you to hang in there, keep going, the end is in sight.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,438; Likes: 4,303


  3. by   whalems
    I am curious about what you do not like regarding your PCT job?
    Care of patients, the hours, the unit itself?
    I am a FNP and have been a nurse for 35 years. In addition, I am a clinical professor, on the unit with students weekly.
    I strongly suggest to all students that they should look for internships / externships during the summer and if they are asked to stay as a PCT, this is a plus. Not only will you know the staff and administration, they will also know you. In NYC, RN jobs for new grads are not easy to come by and anything that gives you a foot up to be hired-take it!
    If you don't like patient care, you are in trouble. That is what you signed up for in being a nurse. Unfortunately, I know a lot of nurses that find patient care is beneath them and are forever calling for the PCT to take care of the patient's needs, i.e. bathing, toileting. Many will go so far as to make a patient wait for care if the PCT is on break. All I can say- 'What if that was your mother / father needing help?'
    Think about it and figure out what you don't like. Change what can be changed or consider other options.
  4. by   JayHanig
    I agree with Beth; a RN position is infinitely easier to get if you're already working in the facility. You don't have to love your work as a tech. It's not a career dead end for you but rather just a waypoint along the path to your ultimate goal.

    When I graduated from nursing school, I interviewed managers rather than the other way around. They already knew what they'd be getting with me and so the very fact that they bothered to give me an interview meant that they were going to offer a position.

    I realize times have changed since the early 1990s but I never would have gotten that opportunity if I hadn't worked all summer as a tech, with occasional shifts through the rest of my nursing school. BTW, I got my 1st choice.
  5. by   Rosie1girl
    I am a retired nurse,( ICU,CCU, Med-Surg,Surgery, Cath Lab,Cardiology Research and Instructor.) Working as a PCT may not be glamorous but it the best part of patient care.
    You are able to work with and do hands on care for the patients.

    Yes, I am an old fashioned nurse. I liked the hands on part of nursing and contact with the patient.

    One of the best students I ever worked with as a Mentor had been a PCT. She was caring, efficient, very good with patients and an avid learner. She was not in love with being a PCT either but as she always said, "I learned a tremendous amount about patients and care giving and would not be the nurse I am without that training."

    It is hard work but is definitely worth the effort. It will give you a step up on the hiring ladder.

    Thoughts of an "old fashioned" nurse.
  6. by   she244
    While in Nursing School, I worked at a large hospital as a CNA. Worked in the float pool. I loved being able to work on different units, with different Nursing Staff and Managers giving me a good idea of the type of Nursing I would be interested in after graduation. When I graduated I applied and was hired right away as a RN. So I agree with the comments, it is much easier to stay on a unit, graduate, learn Nursing skills and then look for other opportunities. After 1 year on a unit, I went to the ER where I advanced my skills which has helped me as I get closer to retirement.
  7. by   Dragonnurse1
    I too worked as a PCT while in nursing school. My program went year round so I only worked nights around my school schedule. I went the manager of the department that I wanted to work in after graduation and talked to her about my schooling and my desire to work in the ER. I had a job waiting when I graduated. I graduated on a Friday and the following Monday I began my new career in the department of my choice. I never felt that any of the work I did was beneath me, I made friends with the night shift workers and I learned how hard it is to be a PCT in an ER. Ever after I became a nurse it was never beneath me to strip a bed or clean a room between patients (if I had time).

    Could you be unhappy on the unit you are working on? Maybe you need to float between units and you may find one that you do like. Perhaps that will help you decide the area that you want to specialize in and give you a more definite goal. However if you do not like working with the patients then you might want to rethink your career choice. Being a PCT is not your end goal but is a stepping stone to that goal.
    Last edit by Dragonnurse1 on Oct 21, '15 : Reason: spelling, grammer X2
  8. by   kalissageorgia
    I felt this kind of feeling when I was getting close to graduation, I had worked as a PCT for 3 years and I was ready to be a nurse! I was so excited and so anxious to graduate that working as a PCT was monotonous. I dreaded going to work too. I glamorized nursing and being a nurse so much in my head that working as a PCT was torture. I just wanted school to be over with so I could finally work as a NURSE! Well it isn't all it's cracked up to be, I miss the patient contact of being a PCT, you just don't get as much as a nurse. So there are good and bad sides. It may just be that you're bored and burnt out and need a change into a new position. DONT GIVE UP!
  9. by   gfoxydee
    Dear Nurse Beth
    I have been a Psy nurse and correctional nurse for 7 yrs. I love them both and mostly have worked with adolescents. I had left my last job due to no salary increase and took a job that pays more but now 1.5 years into it I am not happy. It continues to be in child Psy but I feel all I do is chart barely sit, my safety is at risk and constantly short staffed. I was written up 2 weeks ago for missing a discharge order. I had been so busy I forgot to check the oder for my third discharge. From what I heard my supervisor ripped me apart behind my back but when he wrote me up he was all smiles. I took this write up bad and was down in the dumps for 2 weeks. Just yesterday I also felt that my supervisor wanted me to give a PRN to a PT who didn't need it. I explained to him my rational he still insisted to give thorazine to a patient who was just sitting in the hallway but was not actively agitated at all. Before he left he came to me and said the clinical director tor who is a SW suggest I give something to this patient. It made me more mad because I felt he wasn't listening to me.
    I feel this job pays well but mental and emotionally very streesful. I want to return to correctional and the old job I had. My old coworkers want me to return but a few coworkers say I should say away and venture on new things. Help so confused and frustrated.
  10. by   Baviary
    There is NOTHING wrong with not liking your job as a PCT (in my area we call them nursing assistants, CNA's, etc). There are MANY units who will NOT hire a person who has worked in this job or as an LPN. It may help you within the facility but may NOT in a unit where you are actually working. BTW - for those who will say I'm wrong, the THREE hospitals I've worked in, as well as according to managers at two other hospitals have said this. All are located in either Albany, NY or Massachusetts.
    I never worked as a CNA - never wanted to...personal choice. EVERY nurse has her/his opinion and all are valid - unless they are critical of others. Should you push through for another 10 months? ONLY if you have to keep the job! If you don't like it - I'd leave and find something else better suited.
  11. by   Crikit
    I have never understood why a person would go into nursing if they don't like taking care of patients. I just don't get it. That's what nurses do or should do. Maybe you should change your major to social work or health care management.
  12. by   amoLucia
    The original post is over a year old and second-hand through Nurse Beth. But I think the point brought up by PP Crikit has been UNDER-addressed.

    It seems the original letter writer didn't like doing the required pt care. If letter writer doesn't like pt care, she doesn't like pt care! And no amt of longevity will prob ever change her mind. Maybe a different career is indicated.
  13. by   Canadian67
    I realize as well that this is an old post, but I did want to address a point here. I am also a nursing student (a mature one) who has worked as a PCT (PSW in my area). I enjoy direct patient care, and toileting, etc. is not something that bothers me--in fact, I do think of these personal and intimate tasks as an honour to help people who are no longer able to perform their own basic human tasks.

    But I felt the same as the OP did. I got a job in a long-term care facility, where almost 100% of the residents are somewhere on the dementia spectrum. The job was horrible. Not because of the people and providing personal care, but because we each had 10-15 patients to rush out of bed each day and get to the breakfast table without a second to spare. Seriously, it was timed to 4-5 minutes each to wash, toilet, dress and transfer to a wheelchair (many used mechanical lifts, although some where 1x assists with walkers). Oh, and some even had a bath before going to the table because, surprise, they became too aggressive when being rushed into the tub later in the day. It just felt totally wrong to jolt these confused people out of bed like that. The OP didn't elaborate on what the patient ratio was like, but if it was similar to what I experienced, I don't know how people do it. I ended up quitting and finding a job in home care, providing the same type of care, but with much longer to perform the same duties as at the LTC facility.
  14. by   N1ghtnurs3
    If a student doesn't like hands-on PCT work, they really should never do bedside nursing. I have worked med-surg for 3 years and work as an RN Supervisor at a LTC facility part-time. I find myself doing 75% nursing at the hospital and 25% PCT work. Sometimes we don't have a PCT at all if we have less than 5 pts each. At the LTC facility I do around 50% CNA work. It comes with the job. If you don't want to help your patients to the bathroom, and would rather make them wait until an aide is able, they will have incontinent episodes (humiliating the pt) where they sit or they will fall (breaking bones/surgery/pain/pneumonia, DEATH, etc..) trying to get up by themselves. Either way, it's your fault, and I don't want to work with you. Go into nursing that will not require bedside care for the sake of our patients and other staff who will inevitably suffer.