Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Vs patient Care Assistant (PCA)

Both the terms, CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) and PCA (Patient Care Assistant) are used interchangeably. However, there are big differences in both the careers. Aspirants who wish to take up a career in nursing must understand these differences.


CNA Duties & Salaries

A CNA job is to look after the medical and personal needs of the patients, particularly elderly and disabled. They have to assist the doctors and the nurses in performing different tasks such as the setting up of the medical equipment and moving them from one place to another, checking the patient’s vital signs like body temperature, BP, etc, and keep track of the overall health condition of a patient and more. Also, taking care of a patient’s personal needs like walking, feeding, bathing and grooming the patients.

CNAs can work in different places such as hospitals, private clinics, nursing homes, and even in private homes. It is necessary to have a high school diploma or an equivalent certificate to become a CNA nurse. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, “The yearly average CNA salary is $25,000. Also, CNA nurses can earn up to $26,250 annually”. A CNA nurse can earn between $19,189 and $32,530 per year depending upon the experience and state” According to the PayScale.com, an online salary, benefits and compensation information company. There are plenty of websites like cnapracticetesting.com that deal with providing important information on CNA.

PCT Duties & Salaries

A PCT nurse has to perform similar duties as those of a certified nurse. But, this situation varies from state to state. Also, PCT nurses have to perform some really basic medical duties like taking blood samples, monitor a patient’s heart activity through electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) and perform other basic laboratory-based work. Unlike a PCA nurse who is basically a health professional, PCT nurses are also expected only to perform medical tasks and laboratory related task in many states.

PCTs require a high school diploma. A nurse aide licensure is required to become a patient care assistant. Besides, a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and phlebotomy certificate is an essential requisite in some cases. “A PCT nurse earns an average of $12.75 per hour in most of the states”, According to PayScale.com. Different states offer different salaries. Therefore, a PCT nurse can earn between $20,000 to $36,000 per year depending upon the experience of the PCT nurses and state.

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