Nursing assistants are one of many positions on the healthcare support team. They provide a valuable service to their supervising nurses and patients. Once you’ve become a nurse aide or nursing assistant, there is still much more to learn about healthcare. Some states require a few hours of continuing education for certification renewal, but investing in your education is a good idea even if you’re not required. There are many new doors to open once you’ve entered the field of nursing, so consider your education for the future.
Licensed Practical Nurse
Licensed Practical Nurses are nurses that work in hospitals, nursing homes, and a variety of other settings where healthcare support is needed. All LPNs must pass a state examination, which requires completing a state-approved training program. These training programs can be completed in about a year and are offered at a variety of locations. Community colleges and vocational nursing schools are the best options.
Registered Nurses are also state-licensed nurses that work in hospitals, nursing homes, and other types of supervised facilities. They have more training than LPNs and have many more professional responsibilities, making for a higher salary and more gratifying line of work. There are several ways to become a RN, but again, all RNs must pass a state licensing exam after completing a state-approved training course. Courses can be completed as an associate degree at a community college or a four year degree at a private university or college. RNs are one of the most highly demanded healthcare professionals, with over one million employed in the U.S.
Phlebotomists are healthcare workers that draw blood samples for hospitals and medical laboratories to process. They must be certified because their line of work involves puncturing the skin of patients and therefore poses some more risks than regular nursing care. Phlebotomy certification is a great addition to a CNA certificate and can help you find a higher-paying job in a hospital. Training courses take about 4-12 weeks to complete.
EKG technicians are specialized workers that are trained to use the electrocardiogram machine. This machine measures the beating of the heart using electric signals and can be very sensitive. It is a good certification to obtain for hospital work because EKG readings are often needed before surgery can be initiated. Training takes between 4-12 weeks.
Patient Care Technician
A patient care technician has many certifications rolled into one comprehensive package. Many PCTs are trained as CNAs, phlebotomists, and EKG technicians. This allows them to be extremely versatile healthcare workers. They bring more value to the healthcare environment because of how many different tasks they can complete. Courses to become a PCT usually involve multiple types of certifications and can take up to a year to complete.