Should I become a CNA?

  1. Hey guys,

    I am a 20 year old nursing student, I have finished all my pre-requisites and I'm now waiting to be accepted into nursing school. But I have to wait about 5 more months before I can start my program. I have had small non-healthcare related jobs before (tutor, theme park). But I'm being pushed by my family to start working as a CNA during my break. I'm not sure how the process works, but I know the CNA program is about a month and it is expensive. I'm not sure if it's worth it right now, because I do not plan to work in nursing school. I do volunteer at a local hospital so I have some healthcare experience. Is it really necessary to become a CNA before an RN to have a better chance at finding work or will volunteer experience suffice?
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   Beth1978
    There is a possibility that even with the pre-requisites finished you may not be accepted right away. Many schools offer extra points for already having that certification. Also, the experience will be invaluable, you will learn how to feed, dress, clean, ambulate, transfer, and take vital signs. Also, many students work during school breaks in order to lessen the amount of student loans. Can you take the class at a community college? It is usually much less expensive that way.
  4. by   Missingyou
    Check to see if your state will reimburse you for your CNA training once you start working as a CNA.
  5. by   Sickandtiredcna
    If you want a healthy back and body, I suggest you don't become a cna.
  6. by   Zombie_NSG_Student
    PRN positions only have to work two days a month to retain their position. Not sure if that's a local thing, or applies everywhere.
    It looks good on your resume, gives you a bit of extra cash, and honestly....it makes you a better nurse. Your communication as a nurse will be vastly improved if you understand what you are asking the CNA's working under your license to do.

    I would say go for it: I think it's helped me in the program, and has been invaluable experience....but ultimately, if you're attitude is that you should not have to, and you will not commit, don't do it. It's not easy money.


    but neither is nursing
  7. by   PixieRN1
    I’ve been an RN BSN for 15 years, and prior to that I never worked as a CNA. I worked as a pharmacy tech is high school and college, but never as an MA or a CNA.

    If your grades are solid, I see no reason to try to pad your resume with it. It’s not a requirement to be a nurse.

    Good luck
  8. by   LVN_toNurse
    I know that where I attend school there you do get extra points for having worked as a CNA, EMT, MA or other such related field's. I am actually taking my CNA course right now.
    I'm taking it to ensure I am able to gain experience and also be able to work in the healthcare field if even just part time while taking me prerequisite. However like lots above have said it's not a required or even needed step if you don't need to do it.
  9. by   PRican
    If you don't plan on working through nursing school and it isn't a requirement for your school of choice, I wouldn't recommend being a CNA. I wish I would of went straight to nursing school instead of wasting money on being a CNA. The pay is low and backbreaking.

    On the hand, being a CNA gives you healthcare experience. Some nursing homes and hospitals will help you pay for nursing school while working as a CNA.

    It depends on what you want to do and what is best for you.
  10. by   jasska
    I know you probably already started your nursing program, but I just wanted to put in my 2 cents.
    I think being a CNA is extremely beneficial when it comes to becoming a nurse. You learn patient communication, skills, what can be delegated to a CNA, and how to prioritize/ take care of multiple patients at the same time. Clinicals won't be as nerve wracking because the CNA background helps you a lot with patient care and the nurses will love you since you know how to do everything. I did some volunteering at a hospital in high school and it was NOTHING like being a CNA. CNA looks a lot better on your resume than Volunteer. Plus, you get a little taste of nursing being a CNA and it can help you realize if nursing is really what you want to do. As to working, I work registry (6 times a month, so once or twice a week) and I'm in nursing school and it's pretty doable. I know they tell you not to work during nursing school but you can always work in the summer when you're on break. Honestly, without being a CNA, clinicals in nursing school would have been a lot more stressful and I would of been like a deer in headlights. Yea it can be expensive, but I think it's worth it. Best of luck to you!
  11. by   KashewKat
    I know I'm a bit late in commenting, but check the requirements of your RN program. I know the one I am applying to requires you to be a State Tested Nursing Aide (basically a CNA) in order to complete clinicals in the first year and the other programs I had looked into gave extra points for experience as a CNA/STNA.

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