The healthcare sector is continuously booming. As per stats, the global health care market is expected to hit the $11.9 trillion mark by 2022. These numbers suggest that if you are planning to bag a job in the medical sector, this is the best time.
For those of you interested in securing a career in home care services, there must be many questions in your mind. One of them could be whether you should go for PCA or a CNA.
To be honest, both are great choices for you. However, you need to consider some differences between the two before making your final decision. Read along to know which one will be best for you!
Who is a CNA and PCA?
Among the various careers in the medical field, PCA (Patient Care Assistant) and CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) are a bit close. These are two different medical care assistants who have very few similarities outside their job title and work setting.
Both of them deal with one-on-one care of patients. However, they differ in the case of qualifications required to become one. Other than the required qualifications, there is a lot of difference between the job responsibilities too.
CNA and PCA: Head to Head Comparison
Let’s take a look at the major distinctions between a Patient Care Assistant and a Certified Nursing Assistant!
Roles and Responsibilities
One of the key differences between CNAs and PCAs lies in their jobs roles and responsibilities.
A Certified Nursing Assistant, aka hospital assistants, nurse aides, or health care assistants, deal with:
- Setting up medical equipment for the elderly patients
- Motivating and assisting the patients in exercise well
- Dressing wounds of the patients
- Taking care of the patient’s medication
- Taking vital signs of the patients like blood sugar, blood pressure, weight, etc.
- Answering the calls for the patients
- Providing assistance to patients in moving and turning in bed or onto a wheelchair.
- Assisting the patients in bathing
These are the basic care tasks of the CNA or a nurse aide.
On the other hand, a Personal Care Assistant or a patient care assistant has the following job tasks and duties:
- Analyzing the nutritional value of the patient’s diet
- To provide the basic first aid to the patient whenever required
- Running errands for the patients, no matter what
- Doing laundry and light cleaning for the elderly
- Gathering specimens for diagnostic tests
- Preparing meals for the elderly
- Helping other professionals such as nurses and doctors if required.
Educational and Training Requirements
If you are planning to become a CNA or a PCA, there are some educational requirements for them. Let’s see how they differ!
If you are aspiring to become a CNA in home care facilities, here are some necessary educational and training requirements!
- You have to get a high school diploma or GED and a nurse aide license before getting your degree.
- To be a CNA, you have to be cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and phlebotomy certified.
- Most important of all, you need to complete a state-approved nursing program and pass a certification exam. Certification requirements are a must for CNA.
- A CNA is also required to complete 75 hours of skills training that also includes 16 hours of clinical training.
- This CNA training should include AED usage, motion exercises, infection control, basic first aid, etc.
For a PCA
To be a professional PCA, you need to have a high school diploma or GED and a nurse aide license. Other than that, you can also have a certification.
Certification is not always required. However, some states may ask you for one. For that, you need to take a state-approved training course, pass the exam and obtain the certification. You can take the training course from anywhere like hospitals, clinics or community colleges which should be for 40-75 hours.
The training classes should cover the following aspects:
- Taking care of the elderly
- First aid and feeding of patients
- Taking care of grooming and personal hygiene of the patients
Well, this may seem like an unlikely section here, but there are some conditions related to work experience for becoming an HHA.
To become a Home health aide like CNA, you do not require any work experience. In contrast to this, you need to have some working knowledge as a nurse aide, phlebotomist, or ECG technician to be a PCA.
If we talk a bit more about the duties and responsibilities of HHA like CNAs and PCAs, there are some more differences between them in terms of scope of practice.
For instance, CNAs work under the supervision of registered nurses or licensed practical nurses, and they cannot provide any medical treatment to the patients. They can just act as a caregiver for the patients.
On the other hand, PCAs are capable of accomplishing the duties that a nurse aide does, and they can provide basic medical treatment to patients.
Places of Work
CNAs can go in a variety of work settings and are able to further their career by enrolling in medical assistant programs.
CNAs have an opportunity for employment at many different places, including long-term care facilities, hospitals, residential health care centers, private nursing homes, and hospices. They may also qualify to work as nurses’ assistants or aides with additional training on top of the CNA degree.
Programs like these will be helpful if they want more responsibility, such as being eligible for critical care units, which require even higher levels of certification that CNAs acquire upon completion.
In contrast, PCAs can work in critical care units, cancer clinics, blood banks, etc. They have the ability to work with 4 to 5 nurses and around 16 patients at one time.
When it comes to the earnings of a PCA and CNA, a CNA makes more money than a PCA.
The salary range of a CNA varies from $22k a year to over 40k a year based on the work setting. On the other hand, the salary of a PCA lies between $17k to $29k per year.
In short, there are equal jobs or opportunities in both profiles. Yes, there are some significant differences, but if you have decided to go in one profile, go for it. You can further progress by learning new things after completing what you intend to right now!