26 Disadvantages of Being a Patient Services Technician (The Infection Risk)

disadvantages of being a patient services technician

Considering a career as a Patient Services Technician?

It’s easy to be enticed by the prospects:

  • Direct patient interaction.
  • Integral role in healthcare provision.
  • The satisfaction of assisting in patient recovery.
  • However, there’s a more nuanced side to the story.

    Today, we’re delving deeply. Really deeply.

    Into the challenging, the taxing, and the downright demanding aspects of being a Patient Services Technician.

    Complex medical terminologies? Check.

    Physical and emotional stress? Absolutely.

    Handling patient’s emotional upheavals? Undoubtedly.

    And let’s not forget the long, irregular hours.

    So, if you’re contemplating stepping into the field of patient services, or just curious about what lies beyond the hospital corridors and patient charts…

    Keep reading.

    You’re about to get a comprehensive understanding of the disadvantages of being a Patient Services Technician.

    Contents show

    Emotional Stress of Handling Patient Illness and Distress

    Patient Services Technicians often work directly with patients who may be in pain, ill, or distressed about their health conditions.

    They are responsible for providing care services such as drawing blood, performing EKGs, and other clinical tasks, which may cause patients discomfort.

    Furthermore, they may have to deliver bad news or deal with anxious or upset patients and their family members.

    This can lead to high levels of emotional stress.

    While Patient Services Technicians are trained to handle these situations, the emotional toll of constantly dealing with illness, distress, and sometimes death can be a significant challenge in this role.

    Balancing the need to provide empathetic care while maintaining personal emotional health can be difficult.


    Potential Exposure to Infectious Diseases and Biohazards

    Working as a Patient Services Technician often involves direct contact with patients, many of whom are ill or injured.

    This exposure puts technicians at a heightened risk for contracting infectious diseases such as MRSA, HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and COVID-19.

    Technicians are also frequently in contact with biohazardous materials such as blood and other bodily fluids, which may carry infectious diseases.

    Despite the use of protective equipment and strict adherence to safety protocols, the risk of potential exposure remains, causing constant concern and stress.

    Furthermore, mishandling of these biohazards can also result in serious health consequences.

    This level of risk may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those with compromised immune systems.


    Physical Demands of Assisting with Patient Movement or Transport

    As a Patient Services Technician, one of the main responsibilities may include assisting patients with movement or transport within a medical facility.

    This can be both physically demanding and strenuous.

    Patients may need help getting in or out of beds, wheelchairs, or moving around the facility.

    At times, a technician may need to lift or support patients who have different body sizes and weights.

    This can lead to physical fatigue, muscle strain, or even injury if proper lifting techniques are not used.

    Additionally, the role often requires standing or walking for extended periods, which can further contribute to physical exhaustion.

    These demands can be particularly challenging for individuals with pre-existing physical conditions or those who are not in good physical health.


    Irregular Hours Including Night Shifts and Weekends

    Patient Services Technicians often work in healthcare settings such as hospitals and clinics which operate around the clock.

    This means that they may be required to work irregular hours including night shifts, weekends, and even on public holidays.

    This can disrupt their sleep patterns and social life, making it challenging to maintain a work-life balance.

    Additionally, the need to work during these hours can also place additional stress and pressure on the individual, especially when having to deal with emergencies or critical patient situations during the night.

    Despite these challenges, the role provides an invaluable service in ensuring that patients receive the care and attention they need at any time of the day.


    Low Recognition for Support Role in Patient Care

    Patient Services Technicians, while crucial to the healthcare system, often do not receive the recognition they deserve.

    They provide valuable services such as collecting samples, performing tests, and maintaining patient records, all of which are vital to patient care and diagnosis.

    However, their role is largely backstage and they often interact less directly with patients than doctors or nurses, meaning their work may go unnoticed.

    This lack of recognition can make the role feel unrewarding, despite its importance.

    The technicians also often have less say in patient treatment decisions, which can lead to feelings of frustration or underappreciation.


    High Turnover Rates Leading to Frequent Staff Changes

    Patient Services Technicians often work in environments with high turnover rates.

    Hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities can be high-stress workplaces, leading many people to leave these jobs after a short period.

    This can create a cycle of constant hiring and training new staff.

    As a result, a Patient Services Technician might frequently have to adapt to new team members and potentially take on additional responsibilities during periods of staff shortage.

    This instability can lead to increased stress and reduce the effectiveness of the team, affecting the quality of patient care.

    Furthermore, constant changes in personnel can make it difficult to build a rapport with colleagues and establish a consistent working environment.


    Requirement for Continual On-the-Job Learning and Certification

    Patient Services Technicians are often required to continually learn and adapt to new technologies, procedures, and healthcare regulations.

    This means that even after completing initial training and receiving certification, a Patient Services Technician must continue to educate themselves to stay current in their role.

    Moreover, certification is not a one-time process.

    Most certifications need to be renewed every few years, which requires additional training and often passing an examination.

    This can add stress and take time away from personal activities.

    However, this continual learning can also ensure that Patient Services Technicians are always up-to-date with the latest advancements in patient care.


    Navigating Sensitive Conversations with Patients and Families

    One of the significant challenges that a patient services technician faces is managing sensitive conversations with patients and their families.

    They are often the first point of contact and the face of the healthcare team, responsible for gathering necessary information about the patients’ health conditions, explaining procedures, and sometimes delivering distressing news regarding diagnosis or treatment plans.

    This requires a great deal of tact, empathy and effective communication skills.

    Communicating in such circumstances can be emotionally draining and stressful, especially when patients or families are upset or anxious.

    This role demands a high level of emotional intelligence and resilience, which can be challenging for individuals not naturally inclined to handle such situations.


    Limited Career Advancement Opportunities Without Further Education

    Patient Services Technicians often face a limitation in their career advancement without further education or specialized training.

    This role is typically an entry-level position in the healthcare field, offering a great starting point for anyone interested in healthcare.

    However, advancement to higher positions such as a healthcare manager or medical technologist often requires additional education like a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree.

    In addition, certain specializations may require specific certifications or licenses.

    Therefore, for those who want to move up in their careers, they may need to invest in further education, which can be both time-consuming and costly.


    Risk of Injury from Handling Equipment or Heavy Lifting

    Patient Services Technicians are often required to handle various types of medical equipment and may also need to assist in lifting or moving patients.

    This can put them at risk for various types of injuries including strain, sprains, or even more serious musculoskeletal injuries.

    The risk is further increased if proper lifting and handling techniques are not adhered to or if the technician is not physically fit.

    The role could also involve long hours of standing or moving around, which can lead to fatigue and increase the risk of accidents.

    Despite these risks, proper training and adherence to safety guidelines can help mitigate these hazards.


    Working in High-Pressure Situations, Including Emergency Rooms

    Patient Services Technicians often find themselves working in high-pressure situations, including in emergency rooms.

    They are required to perform a range of tasks, from drawing blood to performing basic lab tests, under intense pressure and tight deadlines.

    This not only requires high levels of competence and skill but also the ability to remain calm and composed under stress.

    These situations can be emotionally draining and physically demanding, with technicians often having to make quick decisions that directly affect the health and well-being of patients.

    Moreover, dealing with patients in critical condition can also be emotionally challenging, which can lead to stress and burnout over time.


    Dealing with Complex Patient Insurance and Billing Issues

    Patient Services Technicians are often tasked with handling complex insurance issues and billing disputes that can be challenging and stressful.

    They have to understand and navigate the often confusing world of health insurance policies, including Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurances.

    They also have to deal with patients who may be frustrated or upset about their medical bills.

    It’s not unusual for these technicians to encounter patients who are unable to pay for their healthcare services, which can be emotionally taxing.

    Miscommunication between patients, insurance companies, and the healthcare provider can also lead to errors that the technician must resolve.

    This aspect of the role requires strong problem-solving skills, patience, and the ability to handle high-stress situations.


    Possibility of Burnout Due to High Workload and Emotional Fatigue

    Patient Services Technicians often face a high level of stress due to the demands of their job.

    They are the frontline staff in many healthcare facilities, handling patient admissions, discharges, and transfers.

    This means they often have to deal with a high volume of work, coordinating patient care with other healthcare staff, managing patient records, and ensuring the smooth running of patient services.

    In addition to the high workload, Patient Services Technicians may also have to deal with emotionally challenging situations.

    They often interact with patients who are dealing with serious illnesses or injuries, which can be emotionally draining.

    This combination of high workload and emotional fatigue can lead to burnout if not properly managed.

    While this role can be rewarding, the potential for burnout is a significant disadvantage.


    Compliance with Strict Privacy Laws and Regulations

    Patient Services Technicians are required to strictly adhere to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

    They often handle confidential patient information, including medical histories, test results, and other private data.

    Breaches of this information, whether intentional or accidental, can lead to severe penalties, including hefty fines and loss of employment.

    This adds a level of stress to the role, as they must always be cautious when handling sensitive information.

    Additionally, staying updated with any changes to these laws and regulations is crucial, which can also add to the workload.

    Despite these challenges, adherence to these laws is essential to maintain patient trust and the integrity of the healthcare institution.


    Managing Personal Emotional Reactions to Patients’ Situations

    As a Patient Services Technician, you will often be the first point of contact for patients, some of whom may be suffering from severe or terminal illnesses.

    This can be emotionally taxing as you are regularly exposed to human suffering and distress.

    Additionally, dealing with patients who are in pain or under stress can sometimes result in confrontational or difficult interactions.

    It is important to maintain a professional demeanor and manage your emotional reactions, but this can prove challenging for many.

    This role requires a high degree of emotional intelligence and resilience.

    Over time, the constant exposure to such situations can potentially lead to emotional burnout.


    Ensuring Accuracy in Documentation and Record Keeping

    Patient Services Technicians are tasked with maintaining and updating patient records, which involves a high level of precision and attention to detail.

    Even the smallest error in medical records can lead to miscommunication, wrong diagnosis, or incorrect treatment, putting patient’s health at risk.

    The responsibility of ensuring accuracy in documentation can be stressful as they have to be extremely meticulous and alert at all times.

    Moreover, they have to stay updated with the latest medical codes and billing procedures, adding to the complexity of the role.

    The constant pressure of maintaining 100% accuracy can lead to job burnout and stress.


    Adapting to New Technologies and Electronic Health Records Systems

    As technology continues to advance, Patient Services Technicians are constantly expected to keep up with the latest developments.

    This includes learning how to use new medical equipment, understanding updated procedures and protocols, as well as becoming proficient in new Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems.

    The transition to digital records has been a significant shift in the healthcare industry and requires continuous learning and adaptation.

    This might pose a challenge for those who are not tech-savvy or find it difficult to adapt to changes quickly.

    It also means additional time devoted to training and learning, often outside of regular working hours.


    Maintaining Professional Boundaries with Patients

    Patient Services Technicians often interact closely with patients, sometimes on a daily basis.

    These relationships can become personal, and it can be difficult to maintain professional boundaries.

    As a Patient Services Technician, you will need to be careful not to become too emotionally attached to your patients, as this could potentially interfere with your ability to provide objective care.

    It is also important to maintain a professional distance to respect the privacy of the patients.

    At the same time, you need to show empathy and compassion, which can be a fine balancing act.

    This can be emotionally draining and stressful, particularly when dealing with patients who are chronically ill or in critical conditions.


    Frequent Mandatory Training on Hospital Protocols and Procedures

    Patient Services Technicians are often required to undergo frequent training on hospital protocols and procedures.

    These training sessions can sometimes be time-consuming and may require technicians to stay late, come in early, or even attend on their days off.

    The medical field is always advancing, so it’s important for technicians to stay updated with the latest procedures and protocols.

    Additionally, hospitals often change their internal procedures to align with new regulations or to improve patient care, which necessitates additional training.

    While this training can improve a technician’s skills and knowledge, it can also be demanding and disruptive to work-life balance.


    Dealing with the Occasional Uncooperative or Difficult Patient

    Working as a Patient Services Technician often means dealing with a diverse range of patients, some of whom can be uncooperative or difficult.

    The reasons for this can vary widely, from fear or anxiety about medical procedures, pain, or frustration due to long waiting times.

    These patients can be challenging to manage and can make the role stressful and emotionally draining at times.

    Being able to handle such situations professionally while maintaining a high level of patient care is essential, but it can be demanding.

    Additionally, dealing with difficult patients can interrupt workflow and potentially impact the level of service provided to other patients.


    Coping with the Grief Associated with Patient Death and Loss

    As a Patient Services Technician, one will frequently interact with patients who are seriously ill or dying.

    This can lead to emotional distress, as the technician may form close bonds with these patients and their families.

    Dealing with death and loss on a regular basis can be emotionally draining and lead to feelings of grief and sadness.

    It may also lead to burnout over time if the emotional toll is not properly managed.

    This aspect of the job requires strong emotional resilience and the ability to cope with loss in a healthy manner.


    Keeping Up with the Fast-paced Nature of Healthcare Environments

    Patient Services Technicians often work in fast-paced healthcare environments such as hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes.

    They are required to multitask and handle a high volume of patients, often under time pressure.

    This can be quite stressful and demanding, especially during peak times or emergencies.

    Keeping up with the speed, maintaining accuracy in their work, and ensuring patient satisfaction can be challenging.

    Moreover, they are expected to stay updated with the latest procedures, policies, and regulations in the healthcare industry, which adds to their workload.

    The fast-paced nature of the job may lead to burnout if not managed properly.


    Financial Constraints Leading to Limited Resources and Staffing

    Patient Services Technicians often work in healthcare settings that may be facing financial constraints.

    These constraints can lead to limited resources and staffing shortages, which can make the role more challenging.

    For instance, there may be a lack of up-to-date equipment or technology that could help to improve patient care.

    Also, with less staff, the workload may increase, leading to longer hours and potentially impacting the quality of patient care.

    Furthermore, these financial challenges can result in lower wages for the Patient Services Technicians, which may not reflect the amount of work and dedication they put into their roles.

    This issue can lead to increased stress and job dissatisfaction among these essential healthcare workers.


    Need to Stay Informed on Latest Healthcare Practices and Standards

    As a Patient Services Technician, you will constantly need to stay updated on the latest healthcare practices and standards.

    This profession is highly regulated and is always evolving with the emergence of new diseases, treatments, and technologies.

    Therefore, you will need to participate in continuing education to maintain your certification and stay updated.

    This continuous learning may be challenging and time-consuming, particularly if you are working full time.

    In addition, failure to stay informed could result in providing outdated or incorrect healthcare advice, which can have serious implications for patient care.


    Balancing Time Between Direct Patient Care and Administrative Tasks

    Patient Services Technicians often find themselves juggling between providing direct care to patients and handling administrative tasks.

    On one hand, they are responsible for collecting specimens, performing EKGs, and other patient-focused procedures.

    On the other hand, they are also required to document patient information, manage data entry, and handle paperwork related to patient care.

    This constant shift between hands-on patient care and administrative duties can be challenging and exhausting.

    It demands high levels of organization and multitasking.

    Moreover, the priority to provide quality patient care could leave some administrative tasks neglected, potentially leading to errors in patient records, which can impact patient safety and care quality.


    Maintaining Mental Health in the Face of Chronic Stressors

    Patient Services Technicians often work in high-stress environments such as hospitals, clinics, and medical offices.

    They are continuously exposed to patients who are in pain, distressed, or dealing with serious health conditions.

    This exposure can lead to a high level of stress and may impact the technician’s mental health over time.

    In addition, they may have to deal with demanding situations, such as delivering bad news to patients or their families, dealing with patients’ emotional reactions, or handling medical emergencies.

    The constant exposure to such situations requires a strong mental resilience and proper stress management skills.

    Despite these challenges, the role can be rewarding for those who are passionate about providing care and support to patients.



    Thus, we present to you a candid reflection on the disadvantages of being a patient services technician.

    It’s not just about scheduling appointments and managing patient records.

    It’s strenuous work. It’s commitment. It’s maneuvering through a labyrinth of emotional stress and administrative challenges.

    But it also involves the satisfaction of ensuring smooth patient care.

    The happiness in facilitating a successful treatment plan.

    The exhilaration of knowing you played a part in someone’s health recovery.

    Yes, the path is demanding. But the outcomes? They can be profoundly rewarding.

    If you’re nodding in agreement, thinking, “Yes, this is the challenge I’ve been seeking,” we have something extra for you.

    Dive into our detailed guide on the reasons to be a patient services technician.

    If you’re ready to embrace both the peaks and the troughs…

    To learn, to grow, and to flourish in this dynamic healthcare field…

    Then perhaps, just perhaps, a career as a patient services technician is for you.

    So, make the leap.

    Investigate, interact, and improve.

    The world of patient services awaits.

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