Does being a CNA help with future RN jobs?

  1. Hi guys,

    So I'm finishing my semester up and will hear from my local RN program whether I will begin in the fall. I'm confident I will get in but can't be too sure. Anyways, I registred for a coupld of classes that would be needed for the BSN. I figured I'd have the summer free to take them vs. later when I'd be busy with nursing school so that I could jump right into the BSN after the RN.

    I'm thinking about dropping those summer courses and taking a 5 week CNA course to help me get an RN job when I graduate. I'd be able to make a little money for school and I thought it would give me some nursing experience. Do employers care about this when you're getting your first RN job?

    Is this a smart move? I would continue part time maybe throughout nursing school, with the hope it would help me get an RN job as I have zero nursing experience.

    What do you think? I have to register for the upcoming CNA class by 5/14 so not sure what to do HELP!
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    20 Comments

  3. by   Pangea Reunited
    It may help you feel more comfortable working with patients, and it may help you network, but CNA experience is not considered "nursing" experience. My employer has passed over several CNAs who graduated from nursing school, even though they were very good and well-liked employees. And as strange as it may seem, some employers don't even consider LVN experience valid when hiring RNs.
  4. by   bsnorbust
    Thanks for answering. Do you think it would hurt when looking for my first RN job? Of course all jobs want 1 year experience as an RN which is tough as a new grad. That's why I'm thinking what can I do before and during I start nursing school to help in getting my first RN job.
  5. by   Pangea Reunited
    Quote from bsnorbust
    Thanks for answering. Do you think it would hurt when looking for my first RN job? Of course all jobs want 1 year experience as an RN which is tough as a new grad. That's why I'm thinking what can I do before and during I start nursing school to help in getting my first RN job.
    I don't see how it would hurt. There are definitely benefits, you just can't bank on the "experience" when it comes to landing your first nursing job.
  6. by   NurseSpeedy
    It made me more comfortable with patients while in nursing school. It allowed for additional networking possibilities once I graduated (depending on the facility, employee recommendations can carry some weight and help you at least get an interview).
  7. by   shugamomma
    Quote from NurseSpeedy
    It made me more comfortable with patients while in nursing school. It allowed for additional networking possibilities once I graduated (depending on the facility, employee recommendations can carry some weight and help you at least get an interview).
    Great for networking.
  8. by   RNperdiem
    I worked as a CNA during nursing school. It is a great student job because you can work weekends and evenings when you are not in class and you can work per diem or part time. Bringing in money to pay for expenses is a good thing too.
    CNA work does not count as nursing experience. What it can do is put you in a position to get to know other nurses, managers and make a good impression- which might help you find a nursing job later.
  9. by   NightNerd
    I think it is a great idea, especially if you her the training needed to work in a hospital. Like others said, it definitely helps in getting comfortable working with people's bodies. It may or may not lead directly to a job, but gaining the professional reference of nurses you work with is always good. Plus, whoever you work for may have tuition reimbursement while you're in school. I see no downside.
  10. by   bsnorbust
    Thanks for your input guys. Looks like I'll start the cna program and pause on the summer courses for the bsn later on. The site has been so helpful and people are nice enough to give honest input. I remember reading through endless posts for almost a year and I finally took the plunge and got my stuff together to apply to nursing school.
  11. by   ladyvp05
    My hospital may be one of the very few out there that counts ANY healthcare experience as RN experience. I got offered $3 extra for my medical assistant experience. Other classmates that where cnas, pharmacy techs, EMTs etc.. Got extra pay as well.
  12. by   bsnorbust
    Oh wow! The networking tips are great too. Makes me think strategically about where to work as a CNA as well.
  13. by   versican
    As a new RN (BSN grad in Dec 15) who did NOT work as a CNA, I feel I missed out on a lot of experiences. I was required to get my CNA prior to the BSN program, but didn't get a job as a CNA because I have small kids to take care of besides being a full-time BSN student. If you can work as a CNA, that will give you valuable experiences. Some of my fellow classmates did work as CNA's and then got RN jobs on the same floor. Just knowing where the supplies were, the computer system, and the staff was a great benefit for them...so if you have an idea of where you want to be an RN, try to be a CNA there. That's my thoughts -- as someone who didn't get that experience.
  14. by   chacha82
    It can! I worked as a cna for several years before becoming a nurse. Cna work is not easy. You get familiar with the patient population and that is great. Right now I have to work with a cna who has decided she knows everything. She likes to boss us around. Don't be like that.

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