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PCT work once I have RN License?

Sara_E Sara_E (New) New


I have heard conflicting stories and I really need to know the truth!

Right now I work as a PCT on a med/surg-ortho unit. I graduate from nursing school in May and want to take the NCLEX as soon as possible. However, I have been told that I cannot work as a tech once I take the NCLEX. Right now, I do not have a job offer as a RN. I do not plan on working as a nurse on the med/surg-ortho floor. (Mostly because I want to do peds, but the hospital I work in does not have a pediatric unit.) I am really concerned because if I am not able to work as a tech once I take the NCLEX, I will have no source of income until I start an RN job.

Is it true or not true that once I take my NCLEX I cannot work as a tech any longer?

Thank you for reading (:

KelRN215, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pedi. Has 10 years experience.

Policies vary by facility and by state. Check with your state's BON and/or ask your nurse manager.

twinmommy+2, ADN, BSN, MSN

Specializes in ED. Has 16 years experience.

Might not be a bad idea to work on the unit where you are now as an RN, get that important experience, while you are searching for the peds job you want later. It will look better on your resume and make you more competitive.

akulahawkRN, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in Emergency Department. Has 6 years experience.

I would imagine that there is very likely very little legal reason for you to be able to work as a PCT after you have passed the NCLEX, and have become an RN. However, there will be likely one big issue that develops: you will be held to the same standards as an RN because you will be an RN at that point, even though your job title is only that PCT. Therefore, there could be some conflict because of that.

Among my many accomplishments, I am a Paramedic. I am able to work as a basic EMT at any time, however, my assessment abilities are far beyond the basic EMT, and I therefore held to that standard even though my authorized scope of practice (things I can do) would be that of an EMT Basic. If I were to assess a patient and I should have known that the patient that I have should have been transported/cared for by a Paramedic, and I failed to arrange for that patient's care to be provided by on-duty Paramedic, my Paramedic license is at risk.

I'm sure that you would probably face the same issue as a PCT who is also licensed as an RN. Your employer probably not want to be placed in that position, and would not used to be put in that position either, therefore they may not want you to work as a PCT after you are licensed as an RN. Check with your employer's policies and procedures in that matter.

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

Check with your state BON to see if it's allowed. Then check with your facility's policy if they permit it.

Also understand that a lot of facilities won't hire licensed RNs/LVNs for non-nurse patient care roles (or let them continue in the role) for two reasons.

First is the liability issue as already mentioned by the poster above me.

Second, many facilities don't want to waste time and money training you as a PCT--as well as relying on you to fill a staffing need--when they know the minute a RN position opens up you will be out of there. You're currently working as a PCT, so you know how vital the position is to the unit. So they want someone they know will be in the job for a while, and not actively searching or biding time for a RN position.

You could certainly try applying for PCT positions, but don't be too surprised if you don't get considered.

ThePrincessBride, BSN

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 6 years experience.

At the hospital I work at, once a student has passed the NCLEX, they have 90 days until they are forced out of their position due to legal issues. I can't say I blame 'em.

"Is it true or not true that once I take my NCLEX I cannot work as a tech any longer?"

I don't see a reason why you could not unless you have temp RN license or your facility or state boards specifically states one has to refrain from any healthcare jobs pending results of exam.

Those are, if you can work on temp license and are there any restrictions not to work in healthcare until finding out exam results, the questions I would inquire about.

All the best as you reach your completion of school and sitting for the NCLEX.

Edited by August RN
Remove a sentence.

LoveMyBugs, BSN, CNA, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics.

I worked for 9 months as a ED tech after I passed the NCLEX, it is more facility driven, at least in my area.

I had a classmate who's facility gave her 90 days another classmate worked for almost a year as a CNA, before that same facility finally hired him as a RN.

Good advise, would be to check with your BON and facility

Also unless your in an area that is new grad friendly, try to get any nursing experience while still trying to get into peds.

I have been a nurse for 3 years and did my time with adults SNFs and currently work Peds LTC and on-call peds acute care

One of the questions I was asked in my interview for my acute care job, was why pediatrics? I told my manager, cause I know I do not want to be an adult nurse after being in SNFs. That made her laugh, but point being I had been exposed to adult care, which is valuable in peds because you are not only caring for your patient but their parents/caregivers as well

I know that in my state the BON will not allow an RN to work as a PCT beyond a certain period of time. I think it is something like 3 mos because we have had a few PCT graduates work for about that length of time before they are forced to quit or they are hired on as RNs. Check with your BON in your state.

I agree with checking your state's BON and facilities policy. At my facility, the minute you pass, you either get hired as an RN or find a new place to work.

Additionally, I'd start applying/interviewing with any facility that would consider talking to me before the exam. This could help minimize time spent unemployed if you really don't want to work for your current facility as an RN.