Welcome to the PCA website
WHAT IS A NURSING ASSISTANT?
Nursing assistants are taught to perform basic patient care under the supervision of registered nurses and/or licensed practical nurses. They have a broad range of work responsibilities that include measuring vital signs and assisting patients with daily living activities.
This course introduces the student to the overall concept of patient care, problem solving, and the use of verbal, non-verbal, and written communications. Legal and ethical responsibilities and the role of a nursing assistant as a health team member are discussed. The content addresses the elderly population from various cultures and establishes a foundation of nursing skills that extends the students understanding of his/her role in giving patient care in a variety of situations. Students will spend over 40 hours actually caring for patients in an extended care facility under the supervision of their clinical instructor. Upon course completion, the student is prepared to take the state nursing assistant certification exam.
WHAT IS A HOME HEALTH AIDE?
Home health aides provide personal care to clients in the comfort of their own home. They are a vital part of the nursing community, as they allow the patient to receive quality medical attention in their own home. Home Health Aides may be called upon to perform the following tasks: prepare meals, provide in-home patient care, apply health and sanitation standards, and monitor their patient’s progress.
This course introduces the student to the concept of the management of the patient in the home which includes physical comfort and safety, nutrition and legal and ethical responsibilities. As a Home Health Aide, you can expect to work in a patient’s home, helping them with everyday tasks.
PATIENT CARE ASSISTANT
The program offers a broad foundation of knowledge and skills, expanding the traditional role of the nursing assistants. The curriculum integrates classroom with clinical performance. Course content includes basic concepts in health science, home health aide and patient care assisting.
This is the final course in the program, and by this point, students have a good grasp on the work they will be expected to perform. As a Patient Care Assistant, you will assist in the care of acutely ill hospitalized patients, including surgical and pediatric patients. In this section, students will apply all of the skills learned to be successful in the hospital setting. You will spend over 40 hours in a hospital setting putting your skills to work under the watchful eye of your clinical instructor.
Employment opportunities abound! Upon program completion, you will have the necessary skills and certifications to work in extended care facilities, rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, hospitals, doctor’s offices to name just a few. Approximately 2,981 job openings are expected each year in Florida until 2008. Legislative changes have created even more nursing assistant positions that need to be filled.
LENGTH OF TRAINING AND REQUIREMENTS
The Patient Care Assistant Program provides instruction and supervised clinical experiences related to basic patient care, interpersonal/communication skills, safety measures, infection control, medical terminology, nutrition, basic anatomy, vital signs, CPR, and employability skills. Supervised clinical experiences for nursing assistants is provided in nursing homes. A minimum of 40 clinical hours is required. They may also complete additional clinical hours that may include rotations to hospitals and home health agencies. The nursing assistant component, which is a state approved, non-matriculated course that promotes quick entry into the work force, is approximately 120 hours of training. Clinical experiences for patient care assistants occur in hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, and private homes. The patient care assistant program is approximately 290 hours.
The Patient Care Assistant is the first step on the nursing or health career ladder. Program completers are able to find flexible work schedules (weekends, evening and night hours) which may offer them the opportunity to work while they continue to pursue career advancement in nursing as a licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse. In fact, many facilities offer tuition re-imbursement for their patient care assistant employees to continue their education in the nursing field.
LICENSURE AND CERTIFICATION
Successful completion of an approved program in either nurse assisting or patient care assisting prepares the student to take the National Nurses Aide Assessment Exam. Successful completion of both a written evaluation and a skills performance evaluation is required for certification placement on the Florida Nursing Assistant Registry. Certification is required to work in a licensed nursing home in the state of Florida. This certification must be obtained within 120 days of employment. Some hospitals and other health care facilities may also require certification. Once the nursing assistant or patient care assistant becomes certified, they are eligible to perform home health aide duties. Certification is maintained by completing the required number of continuing education classes and by working in a nursing related occupation without a lapse of 24 months.
On average, nursing assistants and patient care assistants earn $8.60/hour in Florida. In some areas of the state, patient care assistants may earn as much as $15/hour.