In 2019, a couple of issues related to the nursing profession in Florida made for interesting news headlines. The first one was reported by a Lakeland ABC affiliate, and it dealt with the ongoing suspension of state healthcare licenses over school loan defaults; quite a few of the professionals affected by this measure, which is supported by Florida laws and regulations, are registered nurses. The other news item was actually reported by a publication based in Toronto, which announced healthcare job positions opening in Winter Garden.
There are two important things to consider when evaluating the aforementioned news stories:
- First of all, it is heartbreaking to learn that Florida nurses would be at risk of losing their licenses because of late student loan payments, but it is also a reminder of the exorbitant tuition fees demanded by these programs.
- Second, it is reassuring to learn that demand for nurses and other healthcare workers in the Sunshine State is so high that local employers will post job positions on Canadian publications.
Becoming a registered nurse in Florida takes time is an educational pursuit that takes time, dedication and money. Florida National University offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program as well as a Master of Science in Nursing graduate degree, but there is another career path for prospective students to consider, one that allows you to test the waters of the nursing industry at an affordable cost while still earning a quality education from an accredited university.
What the Patient Care Technician Program is About
Over the last few decades, the scope of the nursing profession has broadened considerably. The Florida Legislature is expected to debate the issue of nurse practitioners this year; if approved, these advanced professionals would be allowed to work with a certain level of independence that is intended to alleviate the ongoing shortage of physicians. As nurses become more specialized, many of them will take on roles that will reduce their direct patient contact duties, and this is when patient care technicians come in.
In essence, the FNU Patient Care Technician program offers a basic understanding of the nursing industry that is broad enough to educate students about the critical role they will play in clinical settings. Enrollment in this program can prepare you with the knowledge and skills needed to become a trained nursing assistant. Depending on the specific setting, you may work under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), physician assistants, or even doctors; you may also seek further certificates in the following concentrations:
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
- Home Health Aide (HHA)
- EKG Technician
Job Functions and Duties of Patient Care Technicians
Within the healthcare industry, there are many sectors where patient care technicians can work, and nearly all of them involve direct patient contact. From taking vital signs and recording them on charts to checking glucose levels and helping patients take their meals, patient care technicians are at the front lines of actually caring for people who need medical treatment. In some cases, these healthcare professionals help patients with treatments that are crucial in terms of keeping them alive; for example, helping individuals whose kidney functions have diminished to the point of needing dialysis.
Depending on the career path you choose, you may be assigned to inpatient nursing units within hospitals, geriatric care centers, pediatric wards, emergency rooms, cardiology offices, outpatient clinics, and many other settings.
What the FNU Patient Care Technician Program Offers
In this career path, you will earn a certificate upon completion of a curriculum that will teach you a wide range of technical skills related to patient care. You can expect to be taught under the guidance of a staff of highly trained instructors who bring real-life experience into the classroom. There is plenty of hands-on instruction in this program; the idea is for you to gain a better understanding of what to expect in the healthcare field as well as what would be expected of you as a professional who works in direct contact with patients.
Since FNU serves the South Florida region, there are certain socioeconomic aspects that this program takes into consideration:
South Florida is a large metropolitan area and a melting pot of cultures, ethnic groups, and nationalities. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that 2.8 percent of the immigrant population of the United States has ties to Cuba, and most of these individuals live in Miami, a city that is widely considered to be the international capital of Latin America and the Caribbean. Students who graduate from the FNU patient care technician program are bound to work with Latino and Caribbean patients who enjoy the idea of being cared for by one of their own.
In the spirit of diversity, the patient care technician program offered by FNU is taught in a bilingual modality, giving students access to our English as a Second Language Lab, which includes interactive courses. While this program does not teach Spanish, English-speaking students will still be able to benefit from immersing themselves in a bilingual speaking environment just as a Spanish-speaking student would. For more information on this bilingual modality, contact one of our counselors today; they will be able to help you in English or Spanish.
Hands-On Clinical Practice
To complete this eight-month program, a minimum of 20 credit hours are required as well as 20 hours of seminar credit hours in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and HIV/AIDS prevention. Students will also need to complete 120 hours of clinical hours. These clinical hours will give you the practice you need to properly treat and care for patients. This clinical practice is mandatory and is one of the highlights of the program.
The Job and Salary Outlook for Patient Care Technicians
From now until the year 2026, demand for patient care technicians is expected to grow at a pace that is faster than all other American jobs. If you work at state or federal government healthcare facilities, you can expect annual salaries of around $32,860. As of May 2017, median wages for nursing assistants was around $27,520 per year.
What You Will Need to Become a Patient Care Technician
At FNU, you do not have to worry about heavy school loan debts that may threaten your healthcare licensing in the future. Tuition for the patient care technician program is very reasonable, and you can always apply for financial aid. If you complete the program in eight months, you will be well on your way to earning a nice salary in a field where job openings can always be found, and your debt burden will never be as high as that of registered nurses. Many of the instructors for this program also teach FNU nursing courses, and this means that they operate under the accreditation of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the licensing of The Florida Board of Nursing. Learn more about our program by contacting a counselor today, or come visit our campus locations in Hialeah and Miami.