Prospective CNA

  1. I am considering going to school to get my RN. I was speaking with a friend, whose a RN, and she suggested I get some medical experience by working as a CNA. I am currently a homemaker w/ a 22 month old. Because I'm living off of one income, I really can not afford to pay for a CNA program through the college. I was wondering if anybody has any suggestions? I live in the lower hudson valley (NY).

    Also, I saw an ad in the local newspaper for free PCA/HHA training. (offered by a HC fac) I was wondering what are other people's thoughts on this? What IS the difference between a PCA and a CNA? Can they interchange jobs? (if your a pca can you function as a cna? vice versa?)

    Thank you soo much for time and consideration.
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   jb2u
    A pca and a cna are the same. I am certified as a nursing assistant, but I work as a patient care assistant/student nurse. When I worked in LTC, they called us cna's. One facility around here calls their cna's Multi Skilled Techs.

    I think it is a great idea to start your nursing career off as a CNA. I think it should be a requirement. That's just my opinion, of course. I went through one of the free training courses through a nursing home and I thought it was a wonderful experience. If you have any further questions, just ask. I wish you the best of luck with your career.

    Sincerely,
    Jay
  4. by   puresass
    i have a friend who's a nurse who said that becoming a CNA before getting your RN doesn't really make all that much of a difference, but HER friend (who was a CNA before becoming an RN) said it made all the difference in the world & that it really gave her a respect for what CNAs do & how hard they work. personally, i think it's a great way to get medical experience & it's generally a quick certification program so why not? that way you can make still make money while you decide if nursing is for you & if you do decide to get your RN, you can work as a CNA during school.

    good luck to you!!
  5. by   luvthesquish
    I just started a CNA program thru a local nursing home in central NY. It was advertised in the paper. they pay us for the 4 week course and oay for the exam and then give us a full time job when we are done with the course! Not a bad deal I don't think. Call around to local hospitals and nursing homes, I know a lot of places offer it w/ paid training included. good luck
  6. by   jb2u
    I just wanted to clarify my viewpoint. I think that one can be a GREAT Nurse and never have been a CNA; however, I think that because, as a Nurse, one will be delegating to the CNA's, it will benefit the Nurse to know how much workload a typical CNA can handle. If one has never worked as a cna, then one may have a false view of how much is too much. I think this is why some Nurses ask the CNA's to do all the basic care. If you know that it is impossible for a CNA to do q4h v/s, q2h turns, pass/feed meals, and do 8 baths because you worked as a CNA then I think you are more likely to NOT ask the CNA to do all of this. You are more likely to say. If you get the 10 o'clock v/s, I'll get the 1400 v/s. And, if you bathe Rm's 234, 235, and 236 then I will get 237, 238, and 239. Of course, maybe there will not be enough time for either of you to get the baths done, so as a Nurse who worked as a CNA, you will PROBABLY be more understanding as to WHY it did not get done.

    So, Yes a Nurse can be great and never work as a CNA. IMHO, it will benefit any Nurse to work first as a CNA to get a different perspective and know what a typical day is like for a CNA. To me it's like a Nurse coming right out of school and going right into management. It's kind of hard to delegate that which you have never done, not impossible, but rather difficult.
  7. by   ebrown343
    hmmm, good viewpoint! In previous jobs, I wished the management would have a better understanding of the job they are delegating, it would not only make them more compassionate and they will better understand the "reality" as opposed to "paper facade".
    Last edit by ebrown343 on Oct 1, '06
  8. by   Megsd
    I think being a CNA also helps your confidence in nursing clinicals. My program (accelerated) required CNA certification, but some of us worked in the field and some just took the class. I find myself MUCH more comfortable interacting with patients doing basic patient care than my classmates who are unsure of those skills. It helps me to be less nervous when doing new skills in clinical.

    And yes, it gives you a great appreciation when you are a nurse for what CNAs have to do. I am glad I went that route first.
  9. by   AuntieRN
    I think it should be a prereq for nursing school as well. It definatelly helps you feel more comfortable around your pts., you will already know how to do the basics like bedbaths, toileting, making occupied beds and then you can focus more on your other nursing skills when you start school. I also think it makes you understand better just how physically demanding and how hard it is to be a CNA.
  10. by   Muttlover
    I am currently finishing my pre-reqs for nursing school, and as a mom also on one income, the tuition for college gets really expensive. This Sept. I am starting my CNA training and will work part-time for the remainder of my schooling. Personally, I don't see how any hands on experience could be considered anything but advantageous. Good luck!

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