(O’FALLON, IL) - According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of health care occupations is projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.4 million new jobs. Health care occupations are projected to add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups but the costs of getting trained for clinical care positions may be higher than some can afford. To help solve this issue, HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital developed a new program to create a bridge into the industry.
The hospital’s Patient Care Tech (PCT) program was developed as an opportunity for people to train on-the-job with the goal of opening additional job paths within the hospital and HSHS system. The third cohort of the program will start June 24, 2019 and applications are still being accepted.
The PCT program is an eight-week paid training program that combines classroom education with hands-on clinical experience. The program consists of two classroom days every week for four weeks. Time is also spent working on a hospital unit for the first four weeks, followed by a four-week internship supported by preceptors.
“Some patient care technician programs require students to pay for the program, which could be cost prohibitive to some who are working full-time already and may not have the means or time,” said Regina Peterson, DNP, RN, Division Director Clinical Education and Professional Development, SID Float Pool and SID RN Residency.
“St. Elizabeth’s program is somewhat unique because participants learn on the job and, upon successful completion of the program objectives, have a position at the hospital.
The first cohort of the PCT program started in January 2019 and continues.
Program facilitator Lleyna Gorka, RN, BSN, shared that many of the first cohort participants had the passion for caring and this gave them the opportunity to bring their joy and mission-driven personality to a higher level of care. Members included current employees from Environmental Services, Food and Nutrition Services and other clinical support departments within the hospital along with some external candidates.
“It’s a paid opportunity to learn,” said Gorka. “This program provides experiences, tools and onsite training to enhance skills students may have gathered from past positions and give them added support to grow in the clinical care field.”
The PCTs function in the same role as a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) in that they help assist patients with their activities of daily living such as bathing, oral hygiene, eating, transporting throughout the facility for testing, walking in the halls, and toileting. Additionally, they obtain vital signs per physicians’ orders and work closely with the nursing staff to ensure patients are ready for upcoming tests and procedures. The role of the PCT is to collaborate with the patient care team, including the nurses, physicians, therapists, and social workers to ensure that the patients basic needs are met and that they receive the safest, highest quality care.
“With St. Elizabeth’s PCT program, we are instilling not only the clinical skills but the culture and tradition that comes with the long history of service at St. Elizabeth’s,” Gorka added.
Applications are currently being accepted for the next cohort of the PCT program and are available online at https://hshscareers.referrals.selectminds.com/?oif_login=success. To learn more about the program email Gorka at Lleyna.Gorka@hshs.org or call 618-234-2120, ext. 12548.