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What does a Patient Care Associate do?

Learn all about Patient Care Associate duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Patient Care Associate.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 4 min read

A Patient Care Associate provides direct patient care under the supervision of a Registered Nurse. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities. Patient Care Associates are responsible for providing basic nursing care, taking vital signs, and assisting patients with activities of daily living.

Patient Care Associate job duties include:

  • Greet patients and visitors in a professional manner
  • Escort patients to exam rooms and prepare them for the physician
  • Assist physicians with patient examinations and treatments
  • Collect patient medical histories and vital statistics
  • Perform routine laboratory tests and collect specimens
  • Schedule patient appointments and laboratory tests
  • Answer patient questions and provide instruction on medication usage
  • Prepare and maintain patient medical records
  • Bill insurance companies for services rendered

Patient Care Associate Job Requirements

A Patient Care Associate (PCA) is a health care professional who provides basic patient care services. PCAs are also known as patient care technicians, certified nursing assistants, and medical assistants. They work under the supervision of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse.

Most PCAs have at least a high school diploma, although some jobs may require postsecondary education, such as a certificate or associate degree in medical assisting. Many states have certification programs for PCAs, which typically involve completing an accredited training program and passing a competency exam. Some employers may also require PCAs to have CPR certification.

PCAs typically have previous experience working in a health care setting, although this is not always required. Those with no prior experience may be able to complete on-the-job training.

Patient Care Associate Skills

  • Caring
  • Compassionate
  • Good listener
  • Empathetic
  • Strong work ethic
  • Reliable
  • Organized
  • Detail oriented
  • Good communication skills
  • Team player
  • Flexible

Related: Top Patient Care Associate Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Patient Care Associate

A Patient Care Associate (PCA) is a health care professional who provides direct patient care services. They work under the supervision of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse and are responsible for providing basic patient care, taking vital signs, and assisting with activities of daily living.

Becoming a PCA requires completing a certified nursing assistant (CNA) program. CNA programs are typically offered at community colleges, technical schools, and some hospitals. The length of the program varies, but most take about six to eight weeks to complete.

After completing a CNA program, graduates must pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) exam to become certified. Once certified, CNAs can apply for jobs at hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home health agencies. Some states also require CNAs to be licensed; requirements for licensure vary by state.

PCAs play an important role in providing quality patient care and contributing to the overall functioning of the health care team. If you are interested in a career in health care and helping others, becoming a PCA may be the right choice for you.

Related: Patient Care Associate Resume Example

Related: Patient Care Associate Interview Questions (With Example Answers)