UC Health to Offer PCA Training Classes to Meet Growing Needs

Aug. 28, 2019

UC Health will be offering training classes for new patient care assistant (PCA) hires to help develop a skilled and robust employee base.

This fall, UC Health’s first PCA cohort will provide a training program for newly hired employees who may not have any prior experience working as PCAs. This program has been developed by UC Health to meet the increasing need for qualified, patient care assistants in the Cincinnati area.

Candidates for the program do not need to have any prior experience as a PCA to be accepted into the program. The PCA training program is based on the state-tested nursing assistance (STNA) program, which sets the baseline skill level for patient care assistants in the state of Ohio.

The PCA training program will teach and train new hires in acute care skills that would be needed in their day-to-day jobs, including a basic understanding of healthcare and skills such as:

  • Proper handwashing.

  • Giving a bath.

  • Being attentive to infection prevention.

  • How to make a bed.

  • Helping with activities of daily living (ex. toileting).

All cohort participants are required to pass their training with UC Health before they continue in their role.

“This program is a great way for new hires to learn the necessary skills they need to be a PCA, while being paid to receive their training,” said Amy Costanzo, director of nursing administration at UC Medical Center.

“Our existing pool of experienced people is not as high as our need for experienced people,” Costanzo continued. “So, we thought it would be a good opportunity to help people who have not been able to receive formal training to provide onsite training before they begin.”

The first cohort is expected to begin this fall. Costanzo said classes will be small, hovering around eight to 15 people, to keep it manageable and to provide enough assistance for new hires.

As of now, UC Health is anticipating to hold training classes every six weeks. The training itself will take place between two to three weeks, plus an additional four weeks of orientation on the unit. Participants will build upon their new skill levels as they progress throughout the program.

“It’s also an opportunity for those in training to bond with each other during the process,” said Costanzo.