Behind our eyes: The voice of the patient care assistant

Nina Hawthorne-Spears, Almeisha Whitlock


This is a discussion paper regarding a role that often goes overlooked in many health care environments; the patient care assistant (PCA). This individual is charged with performing highly skilled tasks that may seem mundane and insignificant to some, yet are essential to achieving optimal outcomes for our patients. Nurses depend on the PCA to being properly educated and trained to accomplish the many duties of caring for the complex patients that enter today’s health care setting. Ultimately, the day to day responsibilities of the PCA are delegated by the licensed nurse. Therefore, it is imperative for nursing to understand the complicated nature of their role and how to best equip them with essential tools for success. A method that has been introduced at Houston Methodist Hospital to ensure the PCA is seen as an integral part of the health care team is the development of the Patient Care Advancement Program (PCAP), also known as a clinical ladder. The PCAP is a comprehensive platform that was implemented to grow the interprofessional team members at the bedside. In this article, we discuss the passion that the PCA must possess to be committed to perform daily care, how the PCA operates as a part of the health care team and the significance of professional growth opportunities for the PCA.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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