Does working as a cna before becoming an rn make you a better rn? - page 2

When I told my sister (who is a bsrn) that I am going to rn school next year (due to a waiting list at the college), she seemed very adiment about me obtaining the cna certificate and to work as one... Read More

  1. by   mario_ragucci
    I can tell right away, in my 4 months employment at a hospital, which nurses were CNA and which were not. Imma floating cna for the most part, racking OT when I am not at my unit. It's not fair to apply the term better nurse, however. Thats pretty tough, so go easy.
    There are many events associated with patient care that carry considerable "shock value." Plus, learning to have compassion for all patients takes time. Like, a total newbie might be tilted by changing a BM on a quad. Yall know what I mean. Your body becomes an instrament of righteousness when you are a CNA. I'm a 37 yo guy, and there are people I see, with BSN's, young, and some look like death warmed over based on their facial expressions/lack of. lol;:-)
    Fending for yourself is important, I think. A "stand-alone" nurse can perform cna work plus RN work and keep on ticking. The PT's get off on that too. New nurses can ring the call light; the super cna's can help them and pick them up. PT's see this and start to get scared.
    If your gonna be a nurse, yawda take aphew database courses, because understanding the logic behind a database has greatly diminished any anxiety about e-chart that I myda had. Like, imagine you spend 20 minutes harvesting data about a patient, but you didn't write it down/didn't make a hard copy as you were harvesting, and you discover you are in the wrong patients record. Wadaya gonna do hotshot? Panic-city? Panic-city here we come :-)
    I love and respect all nurses, but the ones I really love will do all the things a cna will do. Some RN's will not participate - others will be like "dos ex machina" and leave me in a comatose state of mind, displaying skills of a crack cna and a crack nurse with the brains of a rocket scientist/nuclear physist. It's too bad all the super cool ones are married. Hey, what can I do, right?
    Lastly, if you get out there in the wild, and don't have a clue about nurses who will kill or eat you right out of the shoot, or nurses that prey on happy people, you might be shocked to death when you see/experience it for the first time. :kiss
    It's important to develop pack mentality (Ha-ha) and a sense of pecking order (hahahah) Im sorry
    Last edit by mario_ragucci on Aug 1, '02
  2. by   Mattigan
    I worked as a nurse aide for years while going to university (pretty much had a triple major ... so almost 8 years to be exact).

    It sure helped me be a better nurse. I started working as a nurse aide in 1975 and that was back in the day when nurse aides basically did everything but meds and IV's. One RN to a floor and they were "charge". An LPN or 2 to pass meds(depending on how many patients) and aides to do the patient care. I learned so much more than if I had relied solely on nursing school for the bedside care tasks.

    To this day I find myself emptying trash cans and getting fresh water when I check patients. It's all nurse work to me. I was really suprised at the thread "but she's not a nurse"... she is a nurse.. just a different level of nurse IMHO ... and for the record I went from nurse aide to BSN and am a thesis away from a MS. When I work with a nurse aide I am not offended at all when the patient calls them a nurse. The patients and families know I am the RN . I am also the Nurse Manager of the unit but as the night shift aide says "... I try not to hold it against you".

    Come on... it's all nurse work ... some nurses are just at a different level.
  3. by   MollyJ
    Advantages of CNA prior to RN school:
    *Learn basic care tasks and won't be so intimidated by them as a student
    *Get a birds eye view of being a caregiver (you may hate it)
    *begin to learn what sick people look like and what people who are going south look like
    *learn time management skills
    *Potential employers get to know you

    But the bottom line: A lazy, ignorant CNA will probably be a lazy, ignorant RN.

    I had a NA who falsified a document and then asked ME to write a recommendation for LPN school. I wrote one for her because I wasn't sure she fully understood the gravity of what she did in the first place and I thought she deserved a shot at school BUT I did write that she would need careful instruction to understand the importance of accurate medical documentation.
  4. by   oldgirl
    I worked as a ward clerk while in school-this can also be a plus. You are able to read doc's orders, field phone calls, be up on the paperwork, and learn how all the info in that chart contributes to patient care. I felt it was a great help. I know one of the things our new RN's struggle with the most is the blasted doc's handwriting. You can kill 15 minutes just trying to figure out what someone wrote!!
  5. by   nursedawn67
    I think becoming a CNA before becoming any type of nurse helps, you can identify with the aides better, and I don't know you just sort of pick up a knowledge from it.
  6. by   shawng007
    I do not know about being a CNA first, I am currently enrolled to start school to become an LPN next month. I do however work as a hospital sitter, and help often with many tasks such as bathing and assisting the nurses when I can. Even though many of the things I do I am not supposed to, the nurses appreciate my help and often thank me for it. This gives me hands on training, and I am sure it will help when I am in school. I am curious though as to whether all hospitals have sitters, until I applied for this job, I had never heard of sitters, nor has anyone i know. It does give me added benefit in that I am with the patient (either confused, suicidal, or otherwise requiring constant observation.) for eight hours or more, and so I see changes much more readily than nurses and doctors, and some of my observations have drastically changed the course of treatment for some patients. I would say that any training, though not necessarily CNA, would be a great asset before going on to school for nursing, this job is one that helped me decide on such a decision. Good luck.
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I can certainly see where it might. I did not become a CNA first. I was direct-entry. I had some catching up to do! (obviously). I made very good use of my clinical times and practiced skills on my off-time to do so. It was not easy. I doubt prior CNA's are BETTER NURSES than I am, but they were MUCH better STUDENTS, at first, til I took it upon myself to catch up.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Aug 1, '02
  8. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    Originally posted by SmilingBluEyes
    I doubt prior CNA's are BETTER nurses than I am, but they were MUCH better students at first
    Ah yes. That's what I was trying to say, but it was too late for me to make as much sense as you did

    Heather
  9. by   mario_ragucci
    Awwww Heather, just admit the real truth in that you put your foot in your mouth. How does Dr. Sholl's taste? :-)
  10. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    I didn't put my foot in my mouth Mario. I said the exact same thing, she just said it better, more clearly. I'll leave the foot nibbling to you, as you seem to do it so well.

    Heather
  11. by   mattsmom81
    Any kind of hospital/facility experience will be helpful to the student nurse in my experience!Secretary, admissions clerk, dietary...it all helps.

    It just adds a comfort level to your learning.... as you will have some baseline of understanding...a little healthcare experience helps establish a bond of sorts with the floor nurses earlier than someone with NO experience. They may tend to teach or mentor you easier, because they can relate to you easier....does this make sense??? LOL!!

    Good luck to you...you needn't be a CNA necessarily but a little experience somewhere in healthcare couldn't hurt, IMO!
  12. by   Flo1216
    My whole first year of nursing school, I was a nervous wreck. I would literally have to be pushed into the room. And I have to say I felt like I had accomplished nothing clinically because I could always get someone else to " do it for me". Becoming a CNA is the smartest thing I ever did. It's not the most glamourous job in the world, and I made more money as a bartender but let me tell you...I have been a CNA for almost 2 years now and I feel a lot more comfortable with patient care than some of classmates who do not work in hospitals. I have learned to deal with all kinds of people of all kinds of temperments , can do 5 bedbaths before my classmates finish one(plus some of my peers need are so timid that they cant even take a temp without consulting with the instructor) and I also get the opportunity to see things that maybe we don' t get to experience in clinical, such as codes and emergencies or certain illnesses, injuries or procedures. You witness the impact of a death on families and friends and see how the situation is handled, which may be helpful in the future when you are the RN taking care of that pt.You do post mortem care. Plus, I get to see the reality outside of the realm of what they teach us in school. My D.O.N said that she notices that students who work as CNAS first tend to score higher on the boards as well. Maybe because you actually get to apply some of the theory. For example,talking about cardiac tamponade and actually seeing it are two different things. I strongly recommend it. I will be graduating soon and I am so much more confident than I was when I first started and although I still have a lot to learn I feel that my transition from student to RN will be a lot smoother than it would have had I never worked in a hospital. At least I can enter the room now without having a panic attack, anyway.
  13. by   live4today
    Originally posted by Flo1216
    My whole first year of nursing school, I was a nervous wreck. I would literally have to be pushed into the room. And I have to say I felt like I had accomplished nothing clinically because I could always get someone else to " do it for me". Becoming a CNA is the smartest thing I ever did. It's not the most glamourous job in the world, and I made more money as a bartender but let me tell you...I have been a CNA for almost 2 years now and I feel a lot more comfortable with patient care than some of classmates who do not work in hospitals. I have learned to deal with all kinds of people of all kinds of temperments , can do 5 bedbaths before my classmates finish one(plus some of my peers need are so timid that they cant even take a temp without consulting with the instructor) and I also get the opportunity to see things that maybe we don' t get to experience in clinical, such as codes and emergencies or certain illnesses, injuries or procedures. You witness the impact of a death on families and friends and see how the situation is handled, which may be helpful in the future when you are the RN taking care of that pt.You do post mortem care. Plus, I get to see the reality outside of the realm of what they teach us in school. My D.O.N said that she notices that students who work as CNAS first tend to score higher on the boards as well. Maybe because you actually get to apply some of the theory. For example,talking about cardiac tamponade and actually seeing it are two different things. I strongly recommend it. I will be graduating soon and I am so much more confident than I was when I first started and although I still have a lot to learn I feel that my transition from student to RN will be a lot smoother than it would have had I never worked in a hospital. At least I can enter the room now without having a panic attack, anyway.
    Now.....this is what is known as THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX....SEEING THE BIGGER PICTURE...if you will. Thanks for those great ideas, flo. I'm sure they will help other students to consider at least a volunteer stint in the hospital of their choice, etc. :kiss I wish you the best in your nursing career too.

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