Experience vs Money

  1. Please give me some advice on what you would do in my position. I am taking pre-reqs for my RN now. I have a chance to take a CNA class in January (it is about 2 1/2 months). The price is really good, even though we live paycheck to paycheck, so it will be tight. I work weekends and will have to take 3 days off for my clinicals. I think we can get by with that moneywise, that is not the problem. I am just wondering if I should do this. I thought it would be helpful to get a CNA position in a hospital while I was in school. That hopefully they would help me with finances....tuition reimbursement, scholarships and the like. Plus, if I work in a good hospital, I would be making contacts which would be helpful when getting a job as a nurse, correct? This is my problem: the CNA's around here start between $8 and $10 and hour from what I have seen. I make $12/hour. We really need my paycheck to survive. But I want the experience. It isn't that huge of a cut....should I just suck it up, maybe work more hours (I work between 20 and 30 now) to make up the difference, or just stay where I am. I am a vet tech, btw. Even though a lot of classes I took were the same, A&P, chem, med term, sterile techniques, etc, it is worthless in the human medical community and that experience doesn't count for anything. I don't need the CNA class, it isn't a pre req to get into nursing school like some places. So what should I do?? Will working in a hospital before nursing school really benefit as far as experience and them reimbursing me for school? If I take this class I need to do it asap, so any advice would be very helpful!! Thanks
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   SICU Queen
    I'd keep the job with the higher salary so you can work less hours. The stress of nursing school doesn't need the stress of money issues added to it. After you do a few semesters, look for a nurse tech job, one specifically for nursing students. Perhaps the pay will be higher, perhaps not... but you will still get your hospital experience, and you'll have forstalled a few semesters of even stricter penny pinching.

    All that being said, lots of nurses get wonderful jobs after graduation and have never worked as a CNA or tech.

    Good luck! :spin:
  4. by   Rage
    Check with the local hospitals, most of the ones I have dealt with will hire you as a CNA after your first semester in a BSN program if that is your desire.

    But I agree with Queen, if money is the pressing issue then don't make matters worse by adding to the headache.
  5. by   StrwbryblndRN
    Based on what you said I would not take the lower pay.
    Wait if possible like the other posters say. There are other avenues to take to experience the hospital without relying on the pay. You could shadow a few nurses or do volunteer work when possible.
    But definiately do not put more stress than needed on yourself. School is hard enough. Do not add money issues.
  6. by   Satori77
    Thanks, I really appreciate the advice. I do like what I am doing now, they have been great with me, very flexible with hours and helping me out, and the people are awesome. So I would like to stay for awhile more. I just wasn't sure if it would benefit me more in the long run to work at a hospital now. Right now I will just focus on school. Thanks again.
  7. by   CaLLaCoDe
    Hey, I have a suggestion!!! Go per diem as a CNA....Possibly work only once per pay period (Only a twelve hour shift every two weeks) and keep your bread and butter job to boot!! I loved my experience as a CNA and would not have traded in the experience for money; but, that's me. What about YOU?!

    PS. My personal feeling, and this is strictly bias, those nurses who have been CNAs make the best RNs.
    Last edit by CaLLaCoDe on Dec 14, '07
  8. by   TheCommuter
    It is unnecessary to have work experience as a CNA prior to becoming an RN. CNA experience is helpful and invaluable, but not a necessity. Like some of the other posters have suggested, I'd go for the higher hourly pay rate of your current job. Frankly, the daily demands of a CNA at the workplace are backbreaking, grueling, physical, and they are definitely underpaid for all that they do!
  9. by   kukukajoo
    I have had the opportunity to work as a CNA/LNA while attending school but declined as it is grueling work. I have been stressed out and worn out enough between school and nagging health issues, I didn't want to have body aches on top of at the end of a shift!

    Also, in my school/state (NH) once you successfully complete Fundamentals class you are eligible to get your LNA license- dont even have to sit for a test, just do the paperwork and send in the fee.

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