Thinking about going to Nursing School, should I be a CNA first??

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    Hi everyone, I just needed some advice. I have a bachelor's degree and would like to get my B.S.N. I have a few prerequisites to take first like A&P 1 &2 and Microbio. I just started as an NA and am working at a nursing home. Can anyone tell me if this is a good idea, because the pay is very low, but it's do-able for me, but I just really wanted to get some good experience before I pursue nursing. Can you please kind of provide me with the pros and cons? Thank you so much for your help!!

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  2. 26 Comments...

  3. 0
    Quote from mariecandela1985
    Hi everyone, I just needed some advice. I have a bachelor's degree and would like to get my B.S.N. I have a few prerequisites to take first like A&P 1 &2 and Microbio. I just started as an NA and am working at a nursing home. Can anyone tell me if this is a good idea, because the pay is very low, but it's do-able for me, but I just really wanted to get some good experience before I pursue nursing. Can you please kind of provide me with the pros and cons? Thank you so much for your help!!
    Hi Marie,I am actually kind of on a same boat. I too have a bachelors degree as well and I have finished most of my pre-reqs before because the nursing program and my major pretty much had the same pre-reqs. I just recently graduated last September and next month I will be starting out at a cna program. I have always wanted to be a nurse but I never really knew what exactly I would be getting into. Like what if I got into a nursing program and then later you realized you never liked it. In my opinion, this route is a stepping stone to hopefully become a good nurse one day. I also wanted to get my feet wet and get a head start of the basics of nursing. So far I have had people who supported this idea and some who thinks I am wasting my time for going to cna instead of lvn. everyone has different situations, I decided not to go to the lvn route due to my financial situation. I did not want to go to those trade schools and bust out $20,000+ loans. I just recently got out of college with no full time job and going this route is not an option for me. To answer your question I think your at a good route, it is a good experience and it might help you later on in the long run if you decide to pursue lvn or rn. No one can really dictate what you want to do in life because at the end it's really up to you and what you want to do. On the con side I guess it would be they say the low pay, it really depends on your financial situation though. Other than that I'm not really sure what other cons since I'm barely starting out. I would love to hear your experiences as an cna because I will be starting next month and I am so nervous lol. I would also like to hear opinions and advice from others as well.I'm also new at this forum
  4. 1
    My program required a CNA cert prior to beginning.

    My take on it is that CNA experience is not of any particular benefit upon entering nursing. The basic skillset can be acquired quickly and is a very small part of a nurse's role.
    CLUVRN likes this.
  5. 2
    Pros:
    See what Nursing is really like
    Become familiar with many skills and tasks you will do during clinicals
    Learn time management and how to work under pressure
    Toughen yourself up a little bit so you can deal with difficult patients, coworkers, and supervisors before you have the responsibility of being an RN
    Build up your resume and make connections that can help you when you graduate.


    Cons:
    Potential for back injury.
    Job can be stressful and interfere with school.
    Low pay in some places.
    The possibility of being fired, hurting your resume rather than helping it(Ive seen this happen to RN students).
    Some people get burned out and turned off of nursing while working in LTC.


    Overall the pros outweigh the cons in my opinion, especially since you already have your CNA.
    allymarin and lmbtdoula like this.
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    Quote from ♪♫ in my ♥
    My program required a CNA cert prior to beginning.

    My take on it is that CNA experience is not of any particular benefit upon entering nursing. The basic skillset can be acquired quickly and is a very small part of a nurse's role.
    Wait til you start working as an RN. These skills can sink a new RN if they arent good at them, and being good at them takes experience. Real patients arent like mannikens. Especially if you work in a hospital where you wont always have a CNA or PCT to help you. Ive seen it with new RNs.

    We had 2 PCTs call in sick the same night, so they had a new RN off orientation just work as a CNA all shift. The night turned into a total train wreck and the RN was so upset and embarrased they submitted a letter of resignation a couple days later.
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    Quote from funtimes
    Wait til you start working as an RN.
    My viewpoint comes from a year as a med-surg RN and nigh 3 years in 3 different ERs.
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    CNA is a great way to start out! As for the comment about CNA work being a small skill set that is easy (can't figure out an exact quote on my iPhone) I completely disagree. I think it is a baseline of good nursing skills. The nurses that haven't mastered the basics will not be very competent nurses. As for the skill set, it may be basic in some sense but the experience of being in a LTCF or hospital will give you an edge on other nursing students. Not just the skills but the interaction with patients and the environment. If you can handle a lower income and want to test if this is the right career for you, go for it!
    proudcna likes this.
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    I got my CNA and then went into nursing. I can tell you that with your CNA experience you will basically be able to sleep trough the first few weeks of skills lab that goes with your fundamentals class. Also if you can handle working as a CNA there is a very good chance you can make it as a nurse.Which is good to find out before you spend the money on a program.
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    I wont be starting my pre-reqs until this summer so in the meanwhile I am going for my CNA training while I wait. I figure it will give me a good base line and give me a leg up in nursing clinicals when Im starting. And since it will be covered by financial aid I figure why not!
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    I'd recommend CNA work. I worked a few months in a rehab/long term care facility, then went to work as a hospital CNA in a medical ICU. In my job, I float to the neuro ICU, stepdown, cardiac ICU and med-surg. I'm in my RN year of my nursing program, and became a CNA to learn bedside nursing skills and make sure that the job, the culture, and the physical nature of the work were OK for me.

    As a CNA, especially in the ICU, you would work side-by-side with nurses. Hospital work offers an unparalleled chance to see and learn. Most of the nurses are teachers at heart and love to share their experiences and knowledge. Especially this year, where my program has a critical care emphasis, the other hospital CNAs and I do well in lecture and clinical situations, where we've seen something before as a CNA, and can add the RN perspective into our clinical work. I know what happens in a code blue situation - I can't say the same for students who haven't worked as CNAs.

    You also have plenty of chances to talk with patients and families, practicing therapeutic communication (staying strictly within your scope, of course).
    proudcna likes this.


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