Friday, June 18, 2010

A pipeline that leads upstream

What do the following names have in common? Beauvais, Brandao, Chanlatte, Gaines, Gebregziabher, Moorman, Ramos, Vicent, Viller, Weller.

Certainly not ethnic or national background. (But it is from that very diversity that comes the strength of our hospital and, indeed, our country.)

In this case, these are the last names of the recent graduates of our Patient Care Technician Pipeline Program.

Patient Care Technicians work with nurses and other healthcare professionals to provide direct patient care. They play a vital role in the delivery of care on the many floors that comprise a hospital. PCTs probably spend more time with patients than almost any other profession, and it takes special training to be good at it.

At BIDMC, we decided to create a program that would enable some of our dedicated employees in other jobs to learn to be PCTs and move up the health care career ladder. Our Human Resources and Patient Care Services departments designed a nine week in-house program to train people for this role. During the first six weeks, employees attend class two nights a week and participate in four skill practice sessions. After successfully completing the classroom training, participants enter a three week, full-time hands-on training run by a nursing educator on a patient care unit. Trainees continue to receive their salary and benefits during this time. At the end of the three week hands-on training, program graduates move to jobs as PCTs on different units at BIDMC.

This is a picture of our current graduating class. Many have worked here for four or five years. Some were Patient Observers ("sitters"). Other worked as food service workers, rad tech assistants, or material handlers. Here's more of their story and a video on the BIDMC website.

Now, all of them have been promoted to their new jobs. Some are already thinking about the next step. Today a PCT, tomorrow a nurse?

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