Patient care aides work with patients under the direct supervision of health care professionals, such as doctors or nurses. They help patients with tasks such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They also assist with taking patients' temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration. Additionally, they assist with preparing and administering medications, collecting specimens for lab tests, monitoring patients, and recording treatment.
They often communicate with patients often so that they can relay necessary information to the patients’ doctors. This requires them to be very empathetic and to be able to connect and interact well with their patients. Their work can often be physical, and it can require long hours on their feet, which means that a patient care aid should be in adequate shape. They are often working alongside nurses and other aids, so they must be able to work well on a team, follow directions well, and be able to offer help wherever it is most needed. They must be able to communicate information well between the patient and the health care providers.
It may be possible to earn this position with just a high school diploma or equivalent. Many patient care aids will be required to complete training hours, and it may be necessary to become a certified nursing assistant by passing an exam. The requirements vary by state. Experience as a caregiver or hospital volunteer can be very beneficial in this field.
Patient Care Assistant (PCA) Tasks
Provide basic patient care under the direction of a nursing staff.
Assist patients with daily activities including feeding, bathing, dressing, grooming, mobility, changing linens, and taking medication.