Patient care technicians (PCTs) ensure the comfort and safety of the patients in the dialysis center. They monitor the patients before, during and after dialysis treatment. PCTs are well-trained individuals who are committed to providing quality care for their patients.
PCTs work under the supervision of nephrology nurses (nurses who are trained to help people with kidney disease) to provide safe, comfortable and hygienic dialysis treatments for patients. They are often the staff members who have the most “one on one” time with guests at the facility. Many PCTs get to know the patients coming in for treatment on a personal basis and develop a good working relationship with them.
Before a PCT receives a patient into the treatment area, he will make sure the environment is clean and welcoming. The PCT will disinfect the dialysis machine and clear any trash from the area. When the area is ready, the PCT will receive the patient, weigh him and check vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure. This is logged into the patient’s chart. The PCT will also ask questions about the patient’s health and whether or not they experienced any problems after their last dialysis session. This will also be noted in the patient’s file and any concerns will be brought to the attention of a nephrology nurse. The PCT will then program the dialysis machine to the patient’s settings, assess and prepare the vascular access and connect the dialysis tubing to the access. The PCT will also look at the access to make sure it is in good working order.
A dialysis treatment can take several hours. The PCT will monitor the patient and check vital signs every half hour as well as monitor the dialysis machine for the entire treatment time. After the patient is done dialyzing, the PCT will take the patient off the machine and weigh them again. They will also send the patient’s dialyzer to the reuse technicians for cleaning and disinfection, if the patient is on reuse. The PCT will then prepare the area for the next patient.
In addition to working with patients, the PCTs keep careful notes about the patient’s treatment. These records are important for the patient’s health care team to assess how well the treatment is working and whether or not adjustments need to be made. PCTs are also responsible for equipment care. They are trained to clean and disinfect the dialysis machines and equipment and make sure everything is working properly.
PCTs are there to listen to any concerns you have about your health status and dialysis treatment. They can answer questions and refer you to a nephrology nurse or another member of your health care team for more information.
Many patients ask their PCT about their weight, especially after dialysis. The patient’s target or “dry” weight is listed on his chart, and this number or range is the goal after each treatment. Your PCT can tell you if your treatment is achieving these goals. If you are not, your PCT will alert other members of your health care team. They can decide if changes to your treatment need to be made.
Your PCT can also help monitor your access and answer questions you have about it. If you notice any changes to your access, tell your PCT. The PCT and a nephrology nurse can check it and determine if it is working properly.
Many patients get to know the PCTs at their facility and develop a friendly relationship with them. Your PCTs are there to provide you with valuable information and support. They take great satisfaction in being helpful, and are committed to providing their patients with the best of care.
To see a listing of job openings and find out more about a career as a Patient Care Technician with DaVita, vist the Careers page.
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