Better experience as a volunteer?

  1. I got a job in LTC and planned to work my way through nursing school as a CNA. What I want is experience, I don't really need the income, though it is nice.
    Today, I found a volunteer opportunity with and HIV/AIDS program that I am really interested in. It sounds like there is free training and that I would be able to volunteer in different areas if I wanted to.
    Will the volunteer work provide me with better experience than LTC CNA job?
    I really dislike LTC and will not work it when I am done with school.
    How will volunteer with no job compare to CNA experience look to potential employers?
    •  
  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    The CNA job would be better in terms of experience because as a volunteer you will not have any direct patient care experience. That is not to say volunteer experience is bad, it's very good......but the CNA experience would be better.

    And you don't have to stay in LTC all through school, many hospitals will hire after 6 months' experience.
  4. by   jjjoy
    I agree that in general the LTC experience would be better as preparation for nursing school and most nursing positions. Working with inpatients who need support with basic care is something most nurses do, whether critical care, post-op, oncology etc. For most outpatient nursing jobs, inpatient nursing experience is strongly preferred if not required. As a CNA, you'd get very quick at providing basic care which is important when you're a nurse and have many other responsibilities in addition. You'd become familiar with diet restrictions and mobility issues of chronically ill and elderly patients. You'll see many different patients and be able to recogize what "normal" status is in frail elderly patients and what special considerations they need. As the previous poster noted, many hospitals also employ CNAs. The LTC experience might be a stepping stone to a hospital CNA position.

    However, if you know you want to work with HIV patients or in a program like the one that you're considering volunteering for, then that experience might be better for you personally as it could put you in better position to get a related job after becoming a nurse.

    You say you know you don't want to work in LTC. I've a got a few questions that may or may not be helpful in your considerations.

    Are you planning to become a LPN or RN? In many states, the majority of LPN opportunities are in LTC.
    Are you interested in other kinds of bedside nursing, such as acute care (hospital inpatients)? Most entry-level RN positions are in acute care.

    Good luck with your plans!
  5. by   futurecnm
    Quote from natrgrrl
    I got a job in LTC and planned to work my way through nursing school as a CNA. What I want is experience, I don't really need the income, though it is nice.
    Today, I found a volunteer opportunity with and HIV/AIDS program that I am really interested in. It sounds like there is free training and that I would be able to volunteer in different areas if I wanted to.
    Will the volunteer work provide me with better experience than LTC CNA job?
    I really dislike LTC and will not work it when I am done with school.
    How will volunteer with no job compare to CNA experience look to potential employers?
    I would think the more direct pt care the better. If you know you don't like ltc, then apply to the hospital as a CNA. Some have really flexible programs.

close