become CNA before going into Nursing Program or not?

  1. Ok so here is the deal. I just got offered and accepted a part-time job working with deveopmentally disabled adults as a support worker. I have worked in this field for about 7 years and really like it. It pays 8.52 an hour. Which isn't too bad around these parts. My thought was to take CNA classes in January, but now that I have this job I'm thinking maybe I should just work this job. The hours work out well for me because of having little ones. Thurs I would work 10am-4pm then Sat & Sun 8pm -8am. The only day I will have to have child care is Thursday. I'm still torn though because even though I will be required to retake CPR and First Aid also a core A & B med course ( I have taken all these before with another agency but have to retake them since I'm a new-hire and my certs are up ). I don't think it will prepare me like being a CNA would for a career in nursing. What do you all think? Do you think I should just keep this job or go for the CNA classes? What would you all do? I really need to work right now my family is in distress financially and with Christmas coming and little ones to buy for... well you get the picture. How much do CNA's normally make per hour? I would be interested to in home-care more than LTC.

    TIA for any advice you can give.
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   followyourbliss
    Hi..I SO understand your dilemma!been there done that.Ok my suggestion is to line up "informational interviews".Maybe you are familiar with the idea behind this...you are in the drivers seat because rather than being in a interview for a job...you are collecting info that is pertinent to your decision making process ieA}is it worth it financially? b}what is the pay grade etc etc,you can quickly gather info and may even consider volunterring a few hours a week somewhere to have a birds eye view?I know you have little niblets to look after so.. another option home care,or striking a balance between the two jobs?cut back on one and do both until you find the answers you are seeking!I am afraid that as far as wage here in canada the difference is quite big so i amno help there.You can also do informational interviews with the school that offers the program,i did and it worked out well.Hey good luck to you,pm me if you have any questions ok!I mean after all I have a whole 2 days since I have graduated lolheehee take care
  4. by   nursemonica76
    i am currently taking prerequisites for my nursing degree. i have been a cna since dec.'97. it has helped me so much in my classes!! i once was in the nursing program but could not continue the following semester due to financial difficulties. my grades were so much better than a lot of my classmates who had never done any type of patient care. i would strongly advise you to become a cna prior to going into a nursing program.
  5. by   April, RN
    Hi there! The hands-on patient care experience that you will learn as a CNA will definately help you out in nursing school. However, nursing school can be very stressful and overwhelming, especially with small kids! If your current job will work better with your school and family situation, It might be better to stick with that. It sounds like you will still be gaining health care experience from the patient support and medication aspect. Good luck in whatever you decide! :spin:
  6. by   valifay
    Not ony will the experience be good for you, but it will also look good on your resume when you apply for nursing positions. Good luck!
  7. by   walshsb
    i would definitely suggest becoming a cna before nursing school. i played around with the idea myself and decided i didn't have time to take the classes before starting school. it was clear, once classes started, to see who had been, or was currently, a cna and who wasn't. the people in my class had an easier time once clinicals started. you might think going in a talking to patients is easy and natural, but it takes practice, no matter who you are. those with cna experience had no problems. that's just one example. but, if the other job works better for you, i think that would give you some needed experience, as well. good luck!
  8. by   MaleRNstudent21
    okay, i know were you are coming from since i sort of had this situation coming up in the near future. my brother works in the same field as you do. and i know i could of had a job doing the same as well. he makes the same as you do per hour. as a cna sometimes you dont even start out with $8.50/hr. i know here in memphis tn my cousin started out with $7.00 5yrs later she now makes $9.50/hr. now me myself i'm going to be a cna soon hope to get my certs this feb. in the city i'm relocating to they will start me off with 10.00/hr but this work schedule will be 4 days a week. i think you have alot of flexiblity in your schedule now. i think it is great to become a cna before nursing school, but if you aren't able to study as much its not great at all. at your job now you have alot of flexiblity. many times you probably are able to study while your client is in his/or her room ect. as a cna you will have a understanding boss possibly who will support your schooling but you won't have time to study as much as needed. i think you should take advantage of this situation. if you are a person who learns quick cna first then maybe monitor tech or pct. as a monitor tech or pct you can make more that will allow you to school and afford your bills,10-12/hr. you have to have a cna cert 1st though. wish you the best!
  9. by   mermaid36
    i am not a cna yet-am pursuing the idea as i would like to become an er nurse-have never worked in the medical field. i live in maine-i understand northeast is a bit different than south-though i don't know where you live-however-we have medical temp agencies that hire cna's at $14-16 per hour. do you have anything like that where you live? i didn't know until just today when an a&p classmate mentioned it. i'm a single mom, in financial straits. i want to become a nurse because i love helping people, and i need to be able to support myself and my daughter. i wish you the very best of luck! as in my situation-you may just have to close your eyes and do it!!!!! $7.50 an hour is not enough to support yourself, let alone a family. you could work and train less and work at a fast food restaurant. working with disabled adults is hard! which is ok-if you don't need any money. hopefully someday our society will recognize that helping these people is a huge benefit for us all-maybe they'll even realize that working with them as children is worth recognizing financially and work-wise. but until then, perhaps you should forgo the short term, working with disabled adults, and go for the long-term benefits of learning the skills to be a cna, and then furthuring your eduacation where a medical organization may help in financing that education. try to weigh the benefits and negatives. i am as stuck as you-but am leaning toward cna certification. from what i keep reading here, there is more opportunity and better class success in nursing. i wish you the very best of luck!
  10. by   WW
    Keep in mind that a good CNA training program should applaud your interests and enthusiasm and will work with you in terms of a payment plan to help you achieve your goals. A good CNA training program will also provide assistance in helping you find employment, either directly or via a "jobs listing board" that is maintained by the program. Many CNA training programs have arrangements with the LTCF so that the top graduates are hired almost immediately. Remember...in most states, a graduate of a CNA program can begin working as a nurse aide immediately as long as they take the State Exams within 120 days of accepting the job. During this interim period, they work as a "nurse aide" but can not call themselves a "Certified Nurse Aide" (CNA) until they take and pass the State Exams and the Board of Nursing grants their "certification".
    Last edit by jb2u on Dec 4, '06 : Reason: TOS Violation
  11. by   julieqma_58
    Hi, I'm not sure when you plan to start nursing school, but as a CNA/QMA I work very closely with the Nursing Staff and it has been my experience that the very best Nurses were CNA's before they started Nursing school. Usually for at least a year. The knowledge that you gain as a CNA, and the experience you get working closely with the patients is invaluable. No, CNA's are not paid nearly what they are worth, at least that is my experience but the rewards and the sense of helping those who need you is wonderful. Good Luck to you in whatever you decide.
  12. by   sing_anyway
    stay with what you have!
    I did in home care as med tech for mentally retarded,
    now nurse aid in long term care
    stay where you are, especially if it's working well for your family.
    I am thinking about going back, so I will have the energy to do classes for nursing,
  13. by   wishNhopeNdreamN
    I had forgotten about this post, that was so long ago.

    Just for an update, I stayed with the job working with MR adults, and I am now in my second semester of an ASN program. There are actually 3 in my class who are working as CNA's. They are all really comfortable in clinical so that is the bonus for them. But, they are all having a hard time keeping up with studying and work. I think I made the right choice to stay, My grades are good and I have lots of time at work to study.

    Thanks to all for their feedback!
  14. by   sing_anyway
    so glad to hear it! yeah, didn't realize how old this was, and half out of my mind tired, I am so glad you are doing well! Being happy with our choices may be even more important than making the "right" choice! keep it up!

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