What is a Nurse Tech?

If you are thinking about a career in nursing, you may have heard the term “nurse tech” and wondered what it means. A nurse tech is a type of nursing assistant who has completed a certified nursing program and passed a state-approved exam. Nurse techs perform many of the same duties as certified nursing assistants, but they may also have additional responsibilities, such as taking patient vital signs and providing basic patient care.

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Job Description

A nurse tech is a person who helps nurses and other medical staff with patient care. They may also be known as nursing assistants, patient care technicians, or medical assistants. Nurse techs work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings.

The job duties of a nurse tech vary depending on their employer and the state in which they work. However, most nurse techs perform some or all of the following tasks:
-Take vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate
-Assist patients with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and using the restroom
-Transport patients to different areas of the hospital
-Collect specimens such as urine and blood samples
-Perform basic medical tests such as EKGs

Duties and Responsibilities

Nurse techs have a variety of duties and responsibilities depending on their employer, but most techs typically work under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN). Duties may include taking patient vital signs, checking blood sugar levels, collecting urine samples, and helping patients bathe and dress. Other duties may include answering patient call lights, documenting in the patient’s medical chart, and stocking supplies. Many nurse techs also provide emotional support to patients and their families.

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Salary and Compensation

Compensation for nurse techs can vary depending on experience, location, and employer. The median annual salary for nurse techs was $32,000 in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The top 10% of earners made more than $46,000, while the bottom 10% earned less than $23,000.

Education and Training Requirements

Nurse techs usually have at least an associate degree in nursing, although some jobs may only require a high school diploma or equivalent and completion of a nursing assistant or nurse tech training program. Many states require nurse techs to be licensed, registered, or certified. Specific requirements vary by state but may include completing an accredited educational program and passing a criminal background check and a competency exam. Some states allow nurse techs to become licensed through on-the-job training instead of completing an accredited educational program.

Certification

There are voluntary certification programs available for nurse technicians. Certification is offered by the National Healthcare Association and the National Academy of Medicine, both of which offer examinations for interested candidates. Although not required, certification may improve job prospects and lead to higher wages. Those who wish to specialize in a certain area of nursing may also pursue certification in that area.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for nurse techs is positive, with an expected growth of 15% from 2019 to 2029. This is much faster than the average for all occupations. The aging Baby Boomer population will need more medical care, and nurse techs will be needed to help care for them. In addition, the increasing use of technology in healthcare will continue to create new opportunities for nurse techs.

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