Do CNAs make for better nursing students? - page 2

by kool-aide, RN 5,377 Views | 28 Comments

This is for all the nursing clinical instructors out there: Do CNAs make better nursing students? I spoke with an RN friend of mine who teaches clinical at my hospital for a local university and she said that her students... Read More


  1. 0
    I was a CNA for many years then went to MA school and finally made it to RN school a few years ago. It definitely made a difference for me in that I was better able to prioritize my care and was more organized than the other students that weren't CNAs and had no experience.
  2. 4
    I was never a candy-striper, CNA, or PCT. I did volunteer on a local ambulance for emergency calls. I loved my clinicals, even the ones with 'Sarge'.

    It may make a difference in the beginning, but when we get to the critical-thinking skills, complex meds, and teaching, I think students are all mostly on the same page.
    mb1949, ToxicShock, leslie :-D, and 1 other like this.
  3. 3
    The only negative I ever saw with the CNA's in nursing school was that their "real world experience" sometimes differed from the standards we were supposed to be learning in school. For tests and clinical, you really have to do it by the book. We all know that sometimes that's not practical or realistic in actual practice. Occasionally, however, they were surprised to realize that some of the nurses they worked with were actually not performing up to standards, and that there is a good reason for many of those standards.

    The students with experience overall did great in clinicals as long as they were open to learning and not adamant that they already knew it all. One of them became a very close friend and great study partner!
    mb1949, Dazglue, and OldNurseEducator like this.
  4. 1
    i agree with the others that point out that it does not matter. in the first semester of clinicals (ltc) the cnas in my class rocked!!! after first semester, they were not better then any other student. in some cases they were worse because now we had to critically think. in fact, the cnas failed out of my nursing program at the same rate as the non-cnas. on the other hand, some cnas were good academic students along with many non-cnas. therefore, it does not matter if someone is or is not a cna. being a good nursing student comes from being able to think critically and work hard during your studies. gl!
    leslie :-D likes this.
  5. 0
    I think that being a CNA usually makes a really good nursing student because they tend to be confident working with patients due to their experience and are just more comfortable overall in the patient care settings. I will say that it can be tough for them (myself included) to separate what they do at work from what they learn in school and that's something you need to work really hard on doing. I try to not mention the fact I am a CNA until I am absolutely sure that a professor doesn't have a anti-CNA mentality (and believe me some do). If they ask you directly then be honest but if they don't you should keep it low key until your certain that you won't have different expectations as a student simply because your a CNA.

    !Chris
  6. 1
    I think there could be advantages and disadvantages to everything. Lol. Well, the good side I think they have great clinical communication and interact well with patients. On the bad side, I've seen most of the CNA's, MCT's, LPN's miss a lot of questions on delegation because of what they are allowed to do in their facility. Here, a MCT can draw blood but according to our HESI, they can not, and unless the question states they have certification the answer is never that. And as soon as they miss the question the first thing they say is, "Well we are allowed to that where I work." But that doesn't mean that won't make a good nursing student. And that also doesn't mean someone who doesn't work in the medical field already won't make a good nursing student either.
    OldNurseEducator likes this.
  7. 0
    i truely belive cnas make better nurses ..i have come across some real scary REAL NURSES that went straight from high school to nursing ..there for not having a clue once they hit the floor literally..see i am just a low paid nurse LOL l.p.n before that i was a cna ..and then there are some nurses whom i wouldnt hand my hamster to ..;] like the r.n who hooked up a supra pubic cath to jevity 1.2 @ 90 cc hr ...FABULOUS or the one that hung vanco in a peripheral free flow ..then me trying to explain that this is a vesicant solution..so in my career i have seen some really crazy RNS AND LPNS all of whom never had the ladder so to speak cna lpn rn arnp ...but it is a ladder of success trust me it does make a diffferance
  8. 2
    Quote from merlee
    It may make a difference in the beginning, but when we get to the critical-thinking skills, complex meds, and teaching, I think students are all mostly on the same page.
    yep, i agree with this.

    the cnas in my class, clearly had the advantage in clinicals...
    and believe me, they let us know, too.
    ...cocky, precocious lot. (the ones in my class)

    but the bottom line is, that self-assurance quickly dissipated when struggling with didactic portion of nsg education.
    as stated, just as many flunked out as the non-cna's.

    so...for clinicals, yes, they probably do make the better students.
    but in the big picture...their experience has little relevance.

    leslie
    Last edit by leslie :-D on Mar 23, '11
    sevensonnets and enchantmentdis like this.
  9. 2
    I agree that having a background in medical care (such as CNA) helps very much in nursing school. The basic stuff that scares most brand new students will be easier for you. BUT just remember that you have to learn the "right" way to do things and practice that way while you are in school. I had several people in my class that had some problem with doing things their way instead of how the instructor wanted it done. Once you work in the real world, you learn to do things that work for you but when you are in STUDENT MODE, just remember to function as a student.
    Good luck and I know you'll have a great experience.
  10. 1
    Quote from fancyhen
    I agree that having a background in medical care (such as CNA) helps very much in nursing school. The basic stuff that scares most brand new students will be easier for you. BUT just remember that you have to learn the "right" way to do things and practice that way while you are in school. I had several people in my class that had some problem with doing things their way instead of how the instructor wanted it done. Once you work in the real world, you learn to do things that work for you but when you are in STUDENT MODE, just remember to function as a student.
    Good luck and I know you'll have a great experience.
    I find that CNA's make much better students, but only if they learn to do things the "book' way (there's time after you graduate to learn to do things quicker but using the same nursing rationale!) instead of continuing with bad habits. If they truly want to learn the rationale for what they are doing and don't rely on what they have seen in practice (may not necessarily be the best way), then they would be a plus to any nursing program. I like they're enthusiasm for working really hard. It's very hard to be a CNA now. They work very, very hard.
    chorkle likes this.


Top