Direct patient care experiences are different from observation and volunteering experiences in that, although you still observe healthcare providers at work, these experiences are ones in which you are directly responsible for a patient's care. Examples of activities included in direct patient care include, but are not limited to: prescribing medication, performing procedures, directing a course of treatment, working on patients as an active EMT, drawing blood, taking vitals or providing personal hygiene care. Unlike observing, direct patient care experiences usually incorporate physical contact with a patient and, therefore, traditionally requires a certification or on-the-job training. Additionally, many direct patient care opportunities are paid (although this is not required to be considered direct patient care- for example a volunteer EMT is not paid but if they are performing the traditional EMT role they are gaining direct patient care hours)!
Many different opportunities could fall into the realm of direct patient care. Some common roles that incorporate direct patient care are below (but many more exist). Remember that it is the job duties that make a position count as direct patient care.
Positions that May Offer On-the-Job Training:
Positions that Typically Require Certifications:
Note: some positions (like CNA and Pharmacy Tech) allow students to take the exam without attending a training program while others allow students to substitute work experience in place of training programs.
Note: In Lakeland, Traviss Technical College offers training programs in Dental Assisting, Medical Assisting, Optometric Assisting, Pharmacy Technician and Phlebotomy!
To secure positions, students will need to search for job openings through job board such as Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn Jobs, and hospital/clinic job boards. Many paid positions will be full-time and may be difficult to complete in conjunction with a full academic load. The Career and Internship Coordinator does not place students into Direct Patient Care positions.
Complete the Learning Agreement Code of Conduct Form, and HIPPA Training and Quiz found on the Reporting Experiences page and return to the Director of Career Development, email@example.com. Review the Professional Observation Guide for more information.
Dress professionally and comfortably. For healthcare settings and labs this means closed-toed shoes and business profession dress (scrubs may also be appropriate depending on the location).
Confirm important logistical information with the professional. For example, when will it be appropriate to ask questions? For healthcare settings also establish how you will be introduced to patients and how a patient is asked if you can observe the patient-physician interaction.
Once you begin, track important details about your experience!
After the experience, write a thank you note to give the professional on your last day that thanks them for their time. If you think it went well, consider asking for a letter of recommendation right away.
Since you will need to report your activities on your future health profession applications, it is important that you keep a journal of your experiences for your own records. You should track experience start/end dates, supervisor information, average hours per week spent in the activity, and your reflections including: great moments, not so great moments, "ah-ha" moments, memorable patients/clients, difficult patients/clients, things you learned about yourself, things you learned about healthcare, hot topics in the field, new philosophies, new technology/devices you were exposed to, etc. Be sure to also notate the names of specific procedure as well as the correct medical/scientific terminology.
Additionally, FSC students majoring in Biology or Chemistry must report all extracurricular activities (even those not being completed for academic credit) to the Director of Career Development.
Click Here To Report
Questions? Contact the Director of Career Development, firstname.lastname@example.org.