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What Are the Duties of a Patient Care Associate?

Patient care associates typically work under registered nurses or other licensed healthcare professionals, and depending on the workplace, they may also be called nursing assistants, nursing aides, or orderlies. Read on to learn more about the requirements and responsibilities that come with a patient care associate job.

Tasks and Responsibilities

Patient care associates, also called patient care technicians, assist in treating injured or ill patients within clinics, hospitals, and other health care facilities. The duties and responsibilities of a patient care associate include tasks traditionally done by nurse assistants and aides, practical nurses, and medical technicians. Some of your common duties would include preparing hospital rooms, recording patients' vital signs, stocking medical equipment, and assisting physicians during observations. Additionally, you would often perform electrocardiograms (EKGs), insert catheters, and draw blood.

Important Facts about This Occupational Field

Median Salary (2019) $31,343 (for patient care technicians)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 11% (for all nursing assistants and orderlies)**
On-the-Job Training Typically required
Key Skills Patience, physical stamina, communication, compassion

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education

To obtain a position as a patient care associate, you typically must complete a postsecondary certificate program. Schools may combine all necessary training into one comprehensive program, but others require you to complete several short health care programs, including a certified nurse assistant program and specialty training in EKG and phlebotomy.

Coursework covers medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, patient comfort, and ethics. You'll learn about venipuncture and blood specimen procedures in your phlebotomy courses, and your EKG instruction trains you on heart anatomy, stress tests, and electronic cardiac interventions. You'll receive classroom and practical clinical training.

Certification

Upon graduation from your program, you're usually eligible to sit for various certifications. In addition to the Certified Patient Care Technician credential, you may also be required to obtain Basic Life Support, Certified Nursing Assistant, Certified EKG Technician, and Certified Phlebotomy Technician certifications. You can contact your state's health board for information about any extra state-specific requirements.

Career Information

You can work in a variety of health care settings, such as rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and hospitals. You'll work alongside nurses and doctors to help diagnose and treat patients, as well as put your patients at ease during tests and care.