Additional Career Paths Having Completed a Patient Care Technician Program
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is a healthcare professional who works under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or physician to provide basic nursing care to patients. Some of the job duties of an LPN may include:
- Monitoring patients’ health, including taking vital signs, recording medical histories, and assessing symptoms.
- Administering medications and treatments as prescribed by a physician or RN.
- Assisting with medical procedures, such as dressing changes or wound care.
- Collecting and analyzing patient samples, such as blood or urine, for laboratory testing.
- Maintaining accurate medical records and updating patient charts.
- Communicating with patients and their families about their healthcare needs and answering any questions they may have.
- Assisting RNs or physicians with more complex medical procedures, such as administering IV medications or performing certain diagnostic tests.
LPNs may work in a variety of healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and home healthcare agencies. They often work as part of a healthcare team and may collaborate with other healthcare professionals, such as RNs, physicians, and medical assistants. LPNs typically complete a one-year nursing program and must pass a licensing exam to practice in their state.
Registered Nurse (RN)
A Registered Nurse (RN) is a healthcare professional who is responsible for managing and coordinating patient care. RNs work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and community health centers. Some of the job duties of an RN may include:
Assessing patients’ health and developing individualized care plans.
Administering medications and treatments as prescribed by a physician.
Providing basic medical care, such as wound care, catheterization, and IV therapy.
Monitoring and recording patient vital signs and medical histories.
Performing diagnostic tests and analyzing patient samples, such as blood or urine.
Educating patients and their families about healthcare needs and disease prevention.
Collaborating with other healthcare professionals, such as LPNs, medical assistants, and physicians.
Supervising other healthcare staff, such as nursing assistants.
RNs must complete a nursing program, which can take 2-4 years depending on the level of education, such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing. They must also pass a licensing exam to practice in their state. RNs may specialize in a specific area of healthcare, such as pediatrics, critical care, or oncology, and may also pursue advanced degrees or certifications in their field.
Paramedic or Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
A Paramedic or Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is a healthcare professional who provides emergency medical care to patients in pre-hospital settings, such as at the scene of accidents, emergencies, or during transport to medical facilities. Their primary responsibilities are to assess, stabilize, and transport patients who are experiencing medical emergencies or traumatic injuries.
There are typically three levels of EMTs, which vary in the scope of their practice and the complexity of the procedures they can perform:
- EMT-Basic (EMT-B): At this level, EMTs can perform basic life support (BLS) procedures, such as airway management, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), administration of oxygen, and splinting. They can also use automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and assist patients with certain medications, like epinephrine auto-injectors for allergic reactions or nitroglycerin for chest pain.
- EMT-Intermediate or Advanced EMT (AEMT): In addition to the skills of an EMT-B, AEMTs can perform more advanced procedures, such as administering intravenous (IV) fluids, using advanced airway techniques, and administering a limited number of medications.
- Paramedic: Paramedics have the highest level of training among pre-hospital emergency care providers. They can perform advanced life support (ALS) procedures, such as intubation, administering a wide range of medications, interpreting electrocardiograms (ECGs), and performing advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). Paramedics may also be trained to perform more invasive procedures, such as needle decompression for tension pneumothorax or intraosseous (IO) access.
The job of a Paramedic or EMT involves:
- Responding to emergency calls and providing immediate medical care to patients at the scene of incidents.
- Assessing the patient’s condition, taking vital signs, and obtaining a medical history when possible.
- Providing treatment based on established protocols and guidelines, such as stabilizing the patient, managing their airway, and controlling bleeding.
- Safely and efficiently transporting patients to appropriate medical facilities, while continuing to provide care during transport.
- Collaborating and communicating effectively with other emergency responders, such as firefighters, police officers, and hospital staff.
- Documenting patient care and interventions accurately and completely, maintaining patient confidentiality.
- Ensuring that equipment and supplies are maintained, cleaned, and stocked appropriately.
- Participating in ongoing training and continuing education to maintain and enhance skills and knowledge.
To become an EMT or Paramedic, you will need to complete a state-approved education program, pass a national certification exam (such as the ones offered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians), and obtain licensure in the state where you intend to work. The length of the training programs and the specific requirements for licensure can vary depending on the level of certification and the state in which you live.
A Phlebotomist is a healthcare professional who is trained to collect blood samples from patients for laboratory testing. Some of the job duties of a Phlebotomist may include:
- Explaining the blood-drawing process to patients and answering any questions they may have.
- Identifying patients and labeling blood samples accurately.
- Selecting and preparing the appropriate equipment, such as needles, tubes, and vials, for blood collection.
- Locating veins and inserting needles into veins to draw blood.
- Monitoring patients during and after the blood collection process to ensure their safety and comfort.
- Disposing of used needles and other equipment properly and following appropriate safety protocols.
- Maintaining accurate records of blood samples and test results.
Phlebotomists may work in hospitals, clinics, or blood donation centers. They may work with a variety of patients, including children and adults, and may be responsible for managing multiple patients at once. Phlebotomists typically complete a phlebotomy training program, which may include classroom instruction and hands-on practice, and may also need to be certified or licensed in their state. They must be skilled at working with patients and must have a strong attention to detail to ensure accurate blood collection and labeling.
EKG (electrocardiogram) Technician
An EKG Technician is a healthcare professional who is trained to perform diagnostic tests to measure the electrical activity of the heart. Some of the job duties of an EKG Technician may include:
Preparing patients for EKG testing and explaining the procedure to them.
Placing electrodes on the patient’s chest, arms, and legs to record the heart’s electrical activity.
Operating and monitoring EKG equipment during testing to ensure accurate results.
Interpreting EKG readings and preparing reports for physicians.
Communicating with patients and their families about test results and any necessary follow-up care.
Maintaining accurate patient records and updating medical charts.
EKG Technicians may work in hospitals, clinics, or medical laboratories. They may work with a variety of patients, including those with heart disease or other cardiac conditions. EKG Technicians typically complete a training program, which may include classroom instruction and hands-on practice, and may also need to be certified or licensed in their state. They must be skilled at working with patients and must have a strong attention to detail to ensure accurate testing and interpretation of results.