Jump to content

Is CNA Patient Care or Other HCE?

Recommended Posts



I have always thought CNA work qualified as direct patient care, but in the FAQ section of CASPA it says that CNA is considered other HCE because you are 'not directly responsible for a patient's care.'


I'm wondering whether to put my CNA experience as patient care or other HCE. I worry that if I put it down as HCE, programs will think I did not provide patients with hands-on care, which is not the case.


Any tips?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Caspa dropped the ball on this one. From the FAQ:


Patient Care Experience

Experiences in which you are directly responsible for a patient’s care; for example: prescribing medication, performing procedures, directing a course of treatment, designing a treatment regimen, actively working on patients as a nurse, paramedic, EMT, phlebotomist, physical therapist, dental hygienist, etc.

Health Care Experience

Both paid and unpaid work in the health or a health-related field where you are not directly responsible for a patient’s care but may still have patient interaction; for example, filling prescriptions, performing clerical work, delivering patient food, cleaning patients and/or their rooms, administering food or medication, taking vitals or other record keeping information, working as a scribe, CNA, medical assistant, etc.

CASPA's description of the two categories is incongruent with the positions they put in them. Based on the definitions they give for the two categories, there is no rationalization for saying that 'CNA' belongs in one category and 'phlebotomist', 'nurse', and 'EMT' belong in another.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If a CNA isn't doing direct patient care I don't know who is. I've been a CNA for 6 years and on top of the "usual" CNA work which is all as direct as it gets, over the years I've been trained to: perform EKGs, obtain blood glucose samples, remove peripheral IVs and foley catheters, perform pregnancy tests, watch for and report changes of consciousness for a variety of Dx... I say put it as PCE and if anyone wants to dispute it you can explain what you do and why you consider it direct patient care.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe I'm wrong, but does it really matter whether CASPA classifies it as HCE or PCE? Regardless, you're given the opportunity to articulate your duties and responsibilities for the job performed. I've personally never seen a school require PCE over HCE in such terms. It seems to me that what they want is hands-on patient interaction, which usually requires some sort of certificate or degree to obtain. PCE vs. HCE seems like an issue of semantics. 


I work as a CNA in the ICU and listed my experiences under HCE, but used the 600 characters to my full benefit. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CASPA doesn't classify it as anything. Their instructions are just guidelines:


"Please review the definitions below, consider the duties which you performed during your experience, and use your best judgment to determine which category your experience falls into. Note that these definitions are based upon general feedback from PA programs; ultimately CASPA has no preference as to which category you choose to place your experience under as individual programs’ definitions and requirements vary. CASPA advises applicants who have prerequisite requirements to confer with their individual programs if they are unsure how these programs will consider their experience."



What they're saying is they give examples because applicants ask, but ultimately you can put it wherever you (or more specifically, your schools) want you to. .

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to the Physician Assistant Forum! This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn More