Nurse Aide or Pharmacy Tech?

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    Hey everyone,

    I've been thinking about this for about the past hour since I can't seem to fall asleep. I'm hoping you all can give some input.

    My nurse aide class begins late next week. The course runs for about 2 months. I'm anticipating taking the NA I certification exam soon after. I am taking the class because I'm required to be a CNA I before I enroll in nursing school in January.

    I was just hired as a pharmacy tech last week and currently am undergoing training for that position. I've heard that the job would be beneficial for me as I would learn more about drugs, medications, and stuff like that, but I really want to be exposed to the things that would benefit me through nursing school. Would a nurse aide job be more beneficial than a pharmacy tech job?

    Also, how hard is it to find a non-certified Nurse Aide job for the time being until I become certified? Also, would I have to work FT as a nurse aide in order to qualify for benefits? I have to work an average of 30 hours a week in order to maintain benefits with my current job and I know that once January gets here, it'll be impossible to work FT.

    I should really be getting to sleep, but I'm probably keeping myself awake by pondering such a topic at such a late hour. Thanks in advance for any input you can provide...and sorry I've asked so many questions!
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    my in-laws own a bunch of pharmacies and hire pharmacy techs all the time. i wasn't aware that you could get on the job training for this anymore. at least, i've always heard you had to go through a 6-month training program through a school. in any case, most of the pharmacy techs are looking to go to pharmacy school and they grab these jobs in order to get the recommendation from the pharmacy owners for their pharmacy school applications. only you know what your duties are, but i don't see pharmacy tech as preparing you all that much for nursing, other than getting familiar with the names and dosages of a lot of drugs. techs don't get involved in any of the consultation of the medications, so i can't see it helping you with your nursing there.

    if you are going to nursing school and are required to get your cna, then do that. as a cna you can work in nursing homes, home health or other kinds of health care facilities. i worked as a nursing assistant (we didn't have cnas then) on the night shift on weekends in a nursing home when i was in nursing school. there are many good nursing homes you can find work in as their cnas come and go. during your vacation times and slow periods you can volunteer to work extra time and the nursing home will, most likely, be glad to give you the extra work. i very much doubt that you will find a pharmacy tech job that will be able to give you those kind of flexible hours.
  5. 0
    Quote from manofbess
    Would a nurse aide job be more beneficial than a pharmacy tech job?
    I don't know about MORE beneficial, but each has its own benefits. Just like it would be beneficial to be a unit clerk, cardiac monitor tech, or phlebotomist. There is something to be said about having experience with meds, but there is also something to be said about having experience with basic nursing care. I think it is a personal choice. Unless you have a "weakness" that you want to work on, for example, if you have problems with drawing blood, I think you would benefit by becoming a phlebotomist. If you have "problems" with the thought of giving a bath to strangers, I think you would be well served as a cna. If you want to work on your multi tasking skills..you can't go wrong with cna or unit clerk. I think all of these jobs will help with your nursing career. I believe that becoming a cna is VERY important because you will give alot of basic pt care, and you will also be in charge of cna's one day and it would be a BIG help if you knew/understood what exactly it was like to be a cna. It's kind of like someone who never worked as a shipping receiving clerk, but is hired to be a shipping receiving clerk supervisor. I hope you figure out which one is best for you. Let us know.


    Quote from manofbess
    Also, how hard is it to find a non-certified Nurse Aide job for the time being until I become certified?
    They are out there, but alot of places want a certified NA and some states require certification. You may need to call around or check on the laws for your state.



    Quote from manofbess
    Also, would I have to work FT as a nurse aide in order to qualify for benefits? I have to work an average of 30 hours a week in order to maintain benefits with my current job and I know that once January gets here, it'll be impossible to work FT.
    You do not necessarily need to work FT in order to get benefits. Some companies offer benefits to PT employees, but you must check with the companies that you are interested in working for. I work a PRN non-benefit position, but my hospital does offer benefits to FT and PT employees. I like the flexibility of the PRN position because I am only required to work 24 hours a month. I work 24 (2-12's) a week though, and during the summer I worked full time. PRN also allows me to set my own schedule; I just sign up for the days I want to work.



    Good luck on your journey!

    Sincerely,
    Jay
  6. 0
    I just got my CNA license at the end of July and was hired Friday as a PCT (patient care tech) in a huge hospital here in town. The nursing school where I will begin my RN program in January uses this hospital for one of their main clinical sites and the nurse manager who hired me said that she would absolutely work with my school/clinical schedule and would make sure the schedule worked with school (hours/tests, etc). I know this hospital offers FT or PT benefits and even pays for school (full tuition up to a certain amount for FT employees and half for part time employees). I would definitely suggest finding out which hospitals your RN/LPN program uses for clinicals and see if they have any openings... most have online job boards and many do not call the job "CNA" but rather patient care tech or patient support tech, they simply require that you have your CNA license to apply (in Florida anyway). ALSO... most of the hospitals that hire this way also bump you up to Nurse Tech (with a nice pay increase generally) as soon as you take your grades from your first semester of nursing school to HR. If you work where you do your clinicals they may be more willing to work with your hours than just about any other job you can find. Hope this helps! Best of luck with school and work!
  7. 0
    Quote from manofbess
    Hey everyone,
    Also, how hard is it to find a non-certified Nurse Aide job for the time being until I become certified? Also, would I have to work FT as a nurse aide in order to qualify for benefits? I have to work an average of 30 hours a week in order to maintain benefits with my current job and I know that once January gets here, it'll be impossible to work FT.
    I really don't know much about pharmacy techs or what they even do, so I can't answer how beneficial that is.

    On the note of non-certified NA's, it all depends on the state you're working and what kind of shortage there is. In my state nursing assistants become certified upon completion of a CNA coarse and then become registered with the state upon a state test that is seperate from the coarse. So finding a non-certified job is nearly impossible. (Unless you've been doing CNA work since before there were acctual certifications and registries set up then a lot of facilities grandfather you in). Finding a non-registered job is pretty hard too, but I come from a state where we don't have shortage of CNAs so employers can be VERY picky. Call up a couple of potential employers and ask about it though. Explain that you are currently enrolled in a NA coarse and are interested in employment oppertunities within their facility.

    The job experience you'll gain as a CNA varies by the kind of job you work. If you compare the job duties of a CNA in a nursing home, hospital, assisted living, and home care you'll find that they do simular things, but at the same time VERY different things. To a CNA in a nursing home a hoyer lift is old hat to me the CNA in assisted living I'm going to look at it like it's some alien contraption. Do I know how to use the hoyer? Yes. Have I had to use it a lot? Ermmm maybe once???
  8. 0
    Thank you to everyone for the responses and well wishes. I'm very excited about going to nursing school and I think that ultimately, it might behoove me to look into working as a nurse aide. I live in North Carolina and I think you're required to be certified to work as a NA in any capacity here. I have a relative in nearby South Carolina who does home health and I didn't think she was certified, so I guess it varies by state...for me, laws vary by driving 7 or 8 miles down the road since I straddle the state line. Funny how that works--but I think that when the time presents itself, I'm going to give a NA job a shot...the way it sounds, time might fly by a lot faster. Thanks again!


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