I am in my last 2 semesters of Nursing school, and I am trying to get a PCT job (or a Nurse Extern job) in an ICU in Austin, TX. I applied for a job as a PCT at our new hospital in the ICU, but did not get it, although I knew it was a long shot. Does anyone have any recommendations about how to successfully get a PCT job in an ICU - willing to work on a different unit, but really want to work in the ICU as a nurse (so need the experience). Thank you in advance!
Sep 13, '17
Do you have any prior experience as an PCT? The hospital that I work at (in Alabama) doesn't employ techs in the ICU. I would imagine with the level of care that is warranted in the ICU, if they did hire techs, would want a tech with experience. I ended up being able to help in our SICU when I was pulled to be a 'sitter' for a behavioral patient that ultimately landed in SICU and the nurse wanted me to help them instead of just sitting. I loved it, if I could work as a tech in ICU I would in a heartbeat.
Hi! I also live in Alabama and I've noticed our ICUs here don't have techs, but they do have secretaries. I asked some nurses about it and the secretaries double as techs, so if they need assistance rolling/cleaning/anything with a patient, the secretary is SUPPOSED to be an extra pair of hands to help when it's crazy busy. They also hold down the fort by redirecting calls and putting in orders and all the stuff a unit secretary does elsewhere. They don't get vitals because those are done nearly every hour and RNs are supposed to assess the patient during vitals anyways. Now our CCUs hire techs, but they do NOTHING other than get vitals and check blood sugars (based off a friend who was pulled to tech there). I'd suggest either ER or a sister unit to an ICU if you want the experience as a tech with direct patient care.
Another hospital here calls the techs "techretaries" which I find clever and cute because it shows how techs do both jobs in one title.
Honestly, most places don't care WHAT UNIT you tech in as long as you have patient care experience. For example a classmate techs on mother/baby but got a job in SICU (in a residency program after also precepting in STICU here).
Tech in an ICU is a back breaking job, like being a tech in general. I did it for a while when I was a tech. The RNs would have like one patient they had to turn, clean etc. A tech would have 12. These are 12 heavy pts, most on vents that need to be turned continually.
You can learn as a tech and its a great way to get your foot in the door, but keep in mind that for full time techs on any unit, the injury rate is phenomenally high, so I wouldn't work too many hours.
Patients are getting heavier, families are getting more demanding, and management generally doesn't back up techs. At least as an RN you have more say about how you are utilized. As a tech youre often just wanted for a strong back.
You can be injured for life doing this kind of work, Ive seen it happen to many techs. Its a lot less strenuous and safer if you are an RN, so be careful and selective. Hospitals like to exploit some eager to please young nursing students so make sure you aren't getting into a situation where techs are worn out and pitched.
Last edit by funtimes on Jan 20
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