Nurse Technician Job Description
A Nurse Technician is supervised by a registered nurse (an RN); the position itself was created for most nursing students working to achieve their RN license while completing clinical experience hours. It is probably the very best job one can achieve in terms of moving up the ranks to RN, and getting invaluable experience in post-operative and surgical work.
The Nurse Technician is responsible first for patient care, assisting them in bathing and eating, checking vital signs and keeping them under observation, while reporting results to their RN supervisor. The NT also prepares surgical and patient rooms, moves patients to examining rooms or to surgical operating theaters, and is responsible for the sterility of the equipment used.
They may also, if permitted by state law, administer medications or assist doctors in examinations.
Nurse Technician Training
Since this position was developed specifically to help nursing students, a candidate should, after completing college level courses in the sciences (mathematics, anatomy, chemistry, biology, etc.), enroll in a nursing program, either BSN for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or MSN for the preferred (and more competitive) Master’s level.
Once enrolled as a student nurse, most applicants are allowed to begin training as a Nurse Technician after a year in nursing school. One step along the way in the training is to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA), a certificated program one can complete in addition to nursing. You thus re-create yourself, in a sense, into a person who is employable by hospitals and nursing homes.
As your bachelor degree work progresses, you will work under the following paradigms, all designed to augment training as a Nurse Technician:
-Standard curriculum at college level (again, emphasis on the sciences), to be completed in two years.
-Advanced courses in health assessment and care of special populations (geriatric, disadvantaged, infant and child care) as well as medical ethics.
-Clinical experience in crisis centers, hospitals, medical facilities or nursing homes.
The last requirement is the most difficult, in that RN training at the minimum requires 1,000 hours of clinical experience, and the competitive ideal should be at least 4,000. It is here that training and the professions merge, as the Nurse Technician accrues those hours in her newly created position.
If you don’t want to be an RN, there are separate schools specifically for Nurse Technicians; these programs are usually adjunctive to, and can be registered in, any nursing training school or any accredited university with a nursing program. Frequently, Nurse Technician training is used for a prospective health worker to “get a feel” for nursing and assistance in a hospital or medical setting.
The Nurse Technician’s Exam
There’s always a test or certificate to earn in nursing, no matter what status or step you are on, and the NT is no exception. This certification is administered through the NHA (National Health career Association) and is a nationally acknowledged achievement. What really looks good, and proclaims your interest and commitment to the NT’s career, is the fact that the certification exam is voluntary.
Once certified, you can continue up the ladder to RN, or remain where you are as an NT; both positions are recognized in the medical profession, and both are steps to other specialties, if the candidate desires to move on.
Nurse Technician Job Outlook and Salary
Because Nurse Technician is recognized as a step that many take on the way to RN, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics rates it in the same “favorable” category as RN, in that growth is expected anywhere from 9% to 27% and beyond. This expansion will probably be due to the overcrowding of medical facilities throughout the country, and the need to hire new staff.
The salary of a Nurse Technician, due to its assistive nature and the lack of degree work required, is considerably less than the $60,000 average for an RN. The national average for an NT is $28,410, with wide variance from state to state.
Nurse Technician training should be a first step to a much higher and well-paying career as an RN, but it is a great “dip in the pool” for someone just wanting to get the idea, and the routine, behind nursing.