Health Care Careers
Medication Aide Program
- Nursing Assistant I
- Nursing Assistant II
- Nursing Assistant I Refresher
The Medication Aide class for non-licensed personnel prepares students to administer medications by the following routes: oral, buccal, sublingual, optic, ophthalmic, nasal, topical, inhalant, vaginal and rectal. The student is taught to perform a narrowly defined set of tasks; including following the six rights: right person, right dose, right time, right route, and right documentation. Medication Aides may be employed in long term/skilled nursing facilities (nursing homes).
How to Become an N.C. Medication Aide:
Must have a High School Equivalency or High School diploma. A person must pass a 24-hour N.C. Board of Nursing-approved medication aide training program and pass the State competency test to be listed on the N.C. Medication Aide Registry.
What is a CNA?
A CNA (certified nursing assistant) is at the front lines of health care. CNA nurses provide one-on-one non-medical patient care in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and in home-care settings. CNA jobs are often stepping stones to other medical careers.
CNA nurses are more usually known as CNAs or nurse's aides. They work under the direction of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse to assist patients with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and toileting. They help change dressings, assist with feeding, and take vital signs. They also help patients transfer from beds to chairs and may assist the patient with walking.
CNAs are considered to be "the eyes and ears" of doctors and nurses because of the close relationship with patients. CNAs are often the first to notice changes in a patient's condition, and they report those changes to the nurse in charge.
PCC's training programs have a classroom segment and a clinical segment in which students, under supervision, practices skills on actual patients.
Upon completion of the training, CNA students are eligible to take a state certification test, which includes a written exam and a skills test. The skills test involves simulating situations on a volunteer.
North Carolina requires recertification. For example, in North Carolina CNAs may be automatically recertified if they can provide proof of having worked one eight-hour shift as a CNA during the previous two year period.
CNAs play an important role in health care, but it is very demanding. In order to be successful, it helps to be pleasant, responsible and trustworthy. A CNA needs to be in excellent health and able to properly handle heavy lifting. CNAs also need to be patient and compassionate and enjoy working with the elderly. Reliable transportation is essential, as patients rely on CNAs for their health and safety.
Advancement and Salary:
A CNA is on the first step in the nursing career ladder. With experience and about one year of additional schooling, she may become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or, after two years or four years, she may become a registered nurse.
According to Salary.com, the average wage for CNAs in the U.S. $27,418 per year.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for CNAs is expected to grow by 28 percent by 2016. This is because of an aging population.
The N.C. Nurse Aide I Registry is a registry of all people who meet the state and federal training and testing requirements to perform Nurse Aide I tasks. It also has information about substantiated findings of resident abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of resident property in a nursing home.
By federal and state requirements, anyone who works as a nurse aide in a nursing home must be listed on the Nurse Aide I Registry. N.C. Medication Aides who work in nursing homes must also be listed on the Nurse Aide I Registry. Note: Nursing homes may not hire nurse aides who have substantiated findings of resident abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of resident property in a nursing home.
State and federal regulatory information for the Nurse Aide I, including registry, training and competency requirements are in N.C. § 131E-255 ; 42 U.S.C. § 1395i-3(e); 42 U.S.C. § 1396(r)(e); and 42 CFR 483, Subpart B 483.75(e); 42 CFR 483, Subpart D 483.150-158 ].
How to Become a Nurse Aide I:
To become a Nurse Aide I, one must do one of the following:
Pass state-approved Nurse Aide I training and competency testing
Pass state-approved Nurse Aide I competency testing
Phlebotomists are specialized clinical support workers/assistant healthcare scientists who collect blood from patients for examination in laboratories, the results of which provide valuable information to diagnosing illness.
Phlebotomists have responsibility to take blood without harming the patient or disturbing the nursing care they are receiving at the time. They also need to ensure the blood is taken correctly, as if specimens are harmed during collection, test results may be unobtainable or worthless. Once the blood is taken phlebotomists are also responsible for transporting the specimen to the correct laboratory as and when required.
Many phlebotomists work part-time, and others may combine phlebotomy as part of their role as a clinical support worker/ assistant healthcare scientist .
Most states do not require certification or licensure to become a phlebotomist, but certification is highly recommended, as most employers require it—as well as annual recertification. Testing and certification programs are offered by the following certifying bodies:
National Phlebotomy Association
American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians
American Society for Clinical Pathology
Advancement and Salary:
On average, a phlebotomist earns between $26,494 and $40,576 annually, depending upon experience, according to PayScale.com's 2011 report. But with certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), you could earn up to $52,413.
EKG monitor technicians assist cardiologists in the detection and identification of heartbeat irregularities. Conducting tests that monitor heart performance, these technicians work in a variety of medical environments. This career shows positive employment growth with education and certification and on-the-job learning opportunities.
The electrocardiogram (EKG) is a heart monitoring measurement procedure used by cardiovascular technicians performing an echocardiography. An echocardiogram uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart, which a cardiologist will later review in search of heart abnormalities in function. This comprehensive heart health testing includes stress tests performed while the patient is attached to a Holter monitor, the machine used to measure and report electrocardiograms. The technician that conducts this test is referred to as an EKG monitor technician.
EKG Monitor Technician Duties:
As an EKG monitor technician, you are responsible for performing the electrocardiogram test used to monitor and record electrical impulses transmitted by the heart. By placing electrodes on the patient chest to record activity, results are collected through holter monitoring, a portable EKG that records activity for over 24 hours, or basic EKGs and stress tests. Working in physician offices, hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities, you will also assist the physician in diagnosis and treatment considerations based on EKG results.
Professional certification for this career is offered through the American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians (ASPT). To prepare for certification, there are many short-term preparatory courses offered nationally to assist you prior to your certification examination. Programs like the certification course offered through the California School of Health Sciences run for approximately 3 days, providing training in cardiac anatomy and blood flow, electrical impulse, heart beat rhythm interpretation, pacemakers and electrode and wire placement.
According to the Bureau of Labor, approximately 45,000 professionals held positions as cardiovascular technologists or technicians in 2006. Most of those positions are located in hospitals, while others are employed in cardiologist offices, diagnostic laboratories and imaging centers. Employment in this field is expected to increase by 26 percent through the year 2016, a pace much faster than average growth in other careers. However, EKG technicians are learning how to perform basic EKG procedures, so advanced training in holter monitoring and stress testing are encouraged for best employment prospects. As of May 2006, annual earnings of cardiovascular technologists and technicians were listed at $42,300.
Career Profile: What do Pharmacy Technicians do?
Working with pharmacists and customers, pharmacy technicians are trusted with prescription information, patient records, and medication. Pharmacy technicians fill prescriptions, a process that includes counting, weighing, mixing, and measuring medication. Accuracy is necessary for the career and the most successful pharmacy technicians have a facility with details and customer service.
Most pharmacy technicians work in retail settings, such as grocery stores, retail pharmacies, department stores, or mass retailers. Depending on the size and scope of the location, a pharmacy technician can work with other technicians and one or two pharmacists at all times.
A Day in the Life of a Pharmacy Technician:
Pharmacy technicians spend a lot of time on their feet behind pharmacy counters, and may also have to move heavy boxes or use ladders. Non-traditional hours are common for pharmacy technicians, who can work nights or weekends in 24-hour pharmacies. Part-time work is common, which gives technicians a chance to build their schedule around their needs.
Depending on the size of the business, pharmacy technician duties vary. Those who work in larger pharmacies or clinics generally focus primarily on measuring medication or interacting with patients, while those staffing smaller locations can also be in charge of answering the phone, operating the cash register, and other duties.
Pharmacy Technician Training and Education:
While most pharmacy technicians receive on-the-job training, hiring managers typically prefer those with experience, formal training, and certification. Formal training programs typically lead to a diploma or certificate and combine classroom and laboratory work.
Typical coursework in pharmacy technician training programs includes pharmacy math and dosage calculations, interpretation of medication orders, pharmacy law, inventory management, and pharmacy keyboarding. Some programs also include a clinical externship.
In addition to enrolling in a pharmacy technician training program, perspective technicians can increase their job placement opportunities by volunteering in a hospital or working as an aide in a community pharmacy.
Pharmacy Technician Employment & Outlook:
In 2006, pharmacy technicians held about 285,000 jobs nationwide. Most worked in retail settings, with the remainder working in hospitals or mail-order pharmacies. Job opportunities are expected to be good through 2016, as an aging population drives up the need for prescription drugs and pharmacies that dispense them.
Pharmacy technicians can also take on administrative duties performed by pharmacy aides--answering phones and operating the cash register--making them more desirable as workers. In areas experiencing low employment or high average salaries, formal education is preferred and often required for applicants.
Typical Pharmacy Technician Salary:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports mean annual earnings for pharmacy technicians at $27,560 in 2007. Those working for the Federal government earned among the highest salaries in the profession, with mean annual wages of $36,590.