Patient care technicians (PCTs) work in healthcare settings where they are required to provide direct patient care. They assist patients with care plans by taking vital signs, collecting specimens for tests, providing assistance with feeding and clothing and helping them with transportation and ambulation.
Patient care Techs are also required to make assessments of the patients that they are responsible for in terms of care provided and conditions. They are expected to be empathetic owing to the nature of their jobs and possess strong interpersonal skills.
People applying for this position will be asked many questions in interview regarding their skills in managing patients some of which are written below along with what we deem to be good answers.
What were your prime duties as a patient care technician in your previous workplace?
As a patient care technician I was responsible for many direct patient care duties, including assessing patients’ conditions, providing them with assistance in their personal needs, checking vitals and reporting any abnormalities in numbers, assisting with meal intake, providing support with ambulation and assisting therapists in administering therapeutic treatments.
What do you deem to be your most difficult experience in patient care?
The most difficult are usually elderly patients who do not listen to reason and are really quite difficult to handle. But I enjoy managing them utilizing my convincing power – this is my strongest trait.
Do you think that a medical facility can function without the help of a PCT? Why or why not?
A medical facility may be able to function without hiring trained PCTs but then it won’t be able to function optimally. In every organized facility, different people are required to perform different tasks and together, they ensure that everything is carried out perfectly. If a PCT or a nurse or even a cleaner is missing from the equation, it might result in chaos at some point.
What skills do you believe are important to work as a patient care technician?
The foremost skill is patience. Working with unwell people can be emotionally draining. You have to keep your head straight and respond to their needs by exercising patience. Additionally, you need to be physically dexterous as you are constantly on your feet. Other skills that one requires to work at this position include knowledge of basic medical practices, ability to handle emergency situations, and exceptional communication skills to be able to communicate with patients and their families in an effective manner.
What are the job limitations of a patient care technician?
PCT are technicians, so they cannot provide analysis of a disease. They may feel that they know it all (and most times, they do know it all because of the many instances where they have been exposed to certain similar incidents) but they are not at a liberty to diagnose anything. Furthermore, PCTs cannot administer medication (in most cases) unless it is oral medication and that too on the specific instructions of the nurse manager or doctor.
How would you differentiate the positions of a patient care technician and a medical assistance? Do you think they are the same?
No. There is a difference between a medical assistant and a patient care technician. Medical assistants are jacks of all trades – they perform both clinical and administrative tasks in a medical facility. Patient care technicians on the other hand are mainly focused on working closely with patients, under the supervision of RN or nurse manager.
Tell us of a time when your role as a patient care technician was truly tested.
I was once assigned to a patient who was recovering from a head injury. Up until the day he was about to be released, he showed no signs of aggression – in fact, he was well on his way to recovery. However, shortly before he was about to be discharged from the hospital, he flew into a rage and attacked a nurse who was standing by him, filling out his medical chart. Before the situation could get any worse, I managed to separate him from the nurse and calm him down. It so happened that the concussion had damaged his brain somewhat, which did not come to anyone’s notice until this episode.
You have told us of your overall duties as a PCT. Can you specifically define what kind of interaction you have with patients on a daily basis?
Direct patient care involves providing patients with assistance in handling their personal needs such as toileting, bathing, washing and grooming. As a PCT, I am required to ensure that patients’ rooms are kept clean and sanitized to ward off secondary infections. It is also my duty to provide emotional support to patients and their families.
Talking of emotional support, do you believe that you are qualified to provide emotional counseling as a patient care technician?
When a PCT is trained, emotional counseling is part of the training outline. As PCTs, we cannot go beyond a certain level to provide emotional support but it is our duty to be compassionate, listen to patients’ inner thoughts and provide them with support so that they can spend the rest of their stay at the facility in a calm manner.
How important is patient education?
Extremely important. If patients and their families are not provided with education on their diseases or conditions, it becomes difficult for them to handle them both physically and emotionally. Patient education is also important to ensure appropriate home self-care.
Why do you think that you are a good option for us to hire as a patient care technician?
If I keep your job advertisement in front of me and compare each point with all that I have to offer, you will see that the match is perfect. I have worked as a PCT in 3 different medical facilities and possess in-depth expertise in handling patients by providing them with exceptional personal care, in accordance to their specific needs and set care plans.
How do you deal with patients who refuse to listen to you?
There is no other way to deal with them but to be patient and explain to them that you are saying something for their benefit only. Polite manners and friendly approach always works.
How do you deal with the more unpleasant tasks that are a duty of a patient care technician?
I take pleasure in all kinds of related duties. In fact, I take this more than a job – my slogan is to serve humanity.
What can you tell us about your licensure?
I possess current NY CNA licensure.