Did I make the right decision?

  1. I am a freshman taking my nursing pre-requisites, hoping to be accepted into an associates nursing program once I am finished. I just moved out on my own and I am working part-time while going to school full time. I thought it would be a good idea to take a CNA course so I can work as a CNA while I am taking pre-nursing courses and in nursing school. I saved up $1000 and paid for the CNA class and I start in six days.

    I was extremely excited until I learned that most CNAs in the Dallas/Fort Worth area are only making around $9.00 an hour...that's what I make now as a hostess at The Cheesecake Factory. I feel like I made a mistake by enrolling in that class. Please, help me see things clearly.
  2. Visit Trinklee profile page

    About Trinklee

    Joined: May '12; Posts: 34; Likes: 3
    Pre-Nursing Student; from US


  3. by   itsformonkeyhead
    I don't think it was a bad idea. You'll gain hands on experience and it definitely pays off to learn bedside patient care before nursing school. I work as a tech in one of our hospitals in the ICU and let me tell you, the things that I get to see and learn will help me so much when I start school in January. I hear a lot of nurses say that they wish they would have been a cna or tech first. It's also a good way to really know if nursing is right for you.

    Find a job, build a great relationship/rapport with your boss and staff and who knows maybe you can get hired as a nurse there. My boss already told me he will hire me as a new grad. Good luck!
  4. by   shinazee
    I have read and heard that it is better to start as a CNA first, then if you want to go on to be a nurse from there.
  5. by   funtimes
    If nothing else, working as a hostess isnt going to help you learn anything that will help you as a Nurse. Working as a CNA will.

    Seems to me "red" states pay a lot lower wages to CNAs than "blue" states. Ive never made less than 12 bucks an hour as a CNA, both in LTC and in a hospital, but I live in a pro union blue state fortunately. Texas is about as aggressively anti union and anti worker as it gets, so not surprising pay there sucks for CNAs(and probably just about any other entry level job).
  6. by   FurBabyMom
    Well, I see it this way - the CNA experience may be something to set you apart sometime in the future. More hands on experience often helps set people apart when being considered for jobs. It does also give you a chance for a taste of the profession without having completed an entire nursing degree.

    I made $14.85 an hour as an assistant doing CNA work while I was in nursing school. Then again, I lived in a blue state, worked where the RNs are unionized, and I worked primarily nights and weekends (hello shift differential). One of my jobs as a floor RN paid me just shy of $20/hr for an RN position...but I was working in a red state and wages were lower in that area. I was hit by a bit of sticker shock though...considering I had been working for almost as much per hour with less liability and responsibility... There is argument to the "red" state "blue" state though, or at least there seems to be...
  7. by   Trinklee
    Thank you all so much for your replies. I really appreciate them and I feel a lot better about this situation. I am going to stick with it and I feel good about it now I am going to earn valuable experience.
  8. by   maddiem
    It won't be a waste of your time! The experience you will receive from being around the health care environment and getting patient interaction will be very helpful when you get into nursing school! It may also help you get a job when graduate and take your boards because you will have more than just experience from clinicals at school. You will probably be able to find a place that pays more than $9 an hour. Consider other places than just nursing homes such as home health.
  9. by   NightNerd
    I'm another who thinks it will be a great experience! I do think it's ridiculous that CNAs can be paid so little - I earned the same amount in a job where I sat on my butt and played sudoku all day as I do now, running around like a maniac trying to take care of everybody. However, as others said, it will make a big difference on your resume and in your confidence. Definitely look around to see what you can find as far as salary goes - I hope you can find something a little better than $9/hour. But, if not, it will still pay off in the future!
  10. by   JDZ344
    OK, so it pays the same as a waitress, but if you are working on nursing, it will be better to get some basic experience, otherwise, you will start nursing school clueless. At least if you have a background in basic bedside care you will be a small step ahead, and that is priceless. You will learn so much as a CNA.

    Hospitals pay a little more in most places, once you have experience you can start looking there.
    Last edit by JDZ344 on May 14, '14
  11. by   Mewsin
    Every time I see one of these posts with actual wages, I can't get over how little you all get paid.

    Honestly, the experience I have gained by being an aide go above the amount of pay. I start LPN classes in Feb and right now the nurses are grabbing me and showing me procedures, over and over again. (I also have volunteered to work a lot of nights so I have a little more time to see procedures). The things you learn in report, how to deal with issues that come up, what options there are, why baselines are important to know and remember. It is very valuable for sure.
  12. by   fastwalkslowtalk
    In my area (Portland, OR.) the average wage for a CNA1 is around $12.00/Hour. Typically, RCF/ALF pay on the low end at around $10/hour with SNF between $10-12/Hour. Private Pay facilities (ones that do not accept Medicare) pay between $12-15/Hour. Private Duty is about the same. Working for an on-call agency with travel is between $14-20/Hour. In the Portland area, Hospitals and Medical Clinics only hire CNA2's so those wages are not reflected here.
  13. by   Trinklee
    I feel a lot better after actually going to my CNA class. There is a student there who makes $13.50/hr as a patient care technician and another student who knows somebody who got hired making $15.00/hr. However, the nursing home I am doing my clinicals at pay their CNAs $9.25/hr. After seeing what the CNAs have to do every shift, I can say with certainty that they are extremely underpaid. Once I graduate from my course, I'll hold out until I can get a job at a hospital. Blehh.
  14. by   Philly_LPN_Girl
    I don't think you made a bad decision. You can gain a lot of hands on experience as a CNA as well as learn a lot from the other nurses while working, you can work any shift you want to fit your schedule (day, middle, or night shift), prn or just weekends, atleast you are always guaranteed a job as a cna, you could also get benefits, work overtime, etc. CNA is a great field to work in especially if you are going to nursing school, well with my experience good luck