How many of you were CNAs before become a Nurse?

  1. Why did you become a CNA first and what was the toughest part of being a CNA?
    Also if you were looking for experience, what volunteer opportunities can I take advantage of in a hospital if I cannot get my CNA certificate yet.
    Last edit by itsme2005 on Oct 5, '05 : Reason: i forgot to ask another question.
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   TashaLPN2006RN2012
    I'm not a nurse yet, but i do start nursing LPN school in Jan 06....

    I had to have my CNA in order to start my program, but i was a CNA previously i let my certification lapse though so i had to be re-ceritified. Part of the reason i wanted to be a CNA was to make sure i actually LIKED working in the healthcare setting, and it gave me lots of exposure to different types of patients...ive worked Pediatrics, home health, long term care, and doctor's offices.

    The toughest part is really the physical labor of it. and honestly once you get used to it, it's not that tough...being out of shape didn't help...LOL :imbar

    Most hospitals and some LTC's have a phone number you can call to be a volunteer. I never voluenteered but i know the LTC i worked at had people come in that helped with activites, and at the pediatric hospital the volunteers read to the kids, and played with the older ones, and also sometimes were an extra set of hands to hold a fussy sick baby and rock them as we (CNA's) didn't have all the extra time in the world to do that on top of our other responsiblities. I'd just give a couple of hospital's a call and see what the volunteers do and if you can come see the facility!

    good luck!

    tasha
  4. by   christvs
    I worked as a CNA for 2.5 years while I went to nursing school. I just graduated this past May & am an RN now. The toughest part about being a CNA for me was knowing that a lot of what I was learning in nursing school I could not do until I graduated & passed boards. That to me was frustrating. I enjoyed talking to my pts & making them comfortable & providing basic nursing care, but I also REALLY wanted to do assessments, give meds, do pt. education, etc. So the hardest part for me was waiting until I finished school to do all those things!
    -Christine
  5. by   hollykate
    I became a CNA to see if I could be a nurse. I had worked in the non health care arena and wanted to be sure i could deal with the stuff nurses deal with. the hardest part of being a cna was working with other cnas. They often had a low level of education and comprehension, and interest in the patients, and i let that stress me out. i used to have conversations with the physicians, and be mistaken for a nurse all the time, and the other aides used to essentially pick on me for that...ah well, i'm a nurse now.
  6. by   Metron
    I was a CNA first and I think its the only way to go. You get some exposure to the field and get to test whether you like it or not. Also, it really gives you a heads up on nursing school.
  7. by   mstigerlily
    I had no health care experience at all when I entered RN school. I did work as a CNA briefly over the summer between the 1st and 2nd year and it pretty much sucked but then again, I did all those things during our 1st year (esp first semester) of nursing school so it was no big deal.

    Melissa

    Quote from itsme2005
    Why did you become a CNA first and what was the toughest part of being a CNA?
    Also if you were looking for experience, what volunteer opportunities can I take advantage of in a hospital if I cannot get my CNA certificate yet.
  8. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I was a CNA for 3 years, and LPN for 7, and have been an RN for 5.

    I became an CNA first because it was required that you be a CNA before applying to the nursing program at my school. Plus, this allowed me to have a job in the health-care field while going to nursing school.

    The hardest part about being a CNA was working w/ other CNAs who were mean and/or lazy. Also, having a hall of pt's by myself and having to turn and lift pts without any help.

    Before I was a CNA, I was a volunteer for my local VA Hospital. The VA has lots of volunteer opportunitites. I worked in "Escort". That's a volunteer job in which to take pts to their different appts in the hospital, by w/c or gurney. For example you take Mr. Jones from x-ray back to his room, you take Mr. Smith from the lab to X-ray, etc. I also delivered specimens to the lab or pathology.
  9. by   NRSKarenRN


    Night shift aide (no cert in those days) from 74-77 in SNF. ~30 residents night. No chux or disposable diapers, just thick cotton diapers and rubber sheet. AND we had to do our own laundry if excessive wetting/ rampant viral illness as never any extra---- we got to fold while watching TV on our break time!
  10. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I went straight for RN school. No regrets.
  11. by   Nancy2
    I worked as an aide in a SNF for 4 years, usually 12 patients on day shift, bathing, changing, feeding and up in a chair if ordered. Then I worked as a home health aide for hospice while in nursing school for 3 years because I could adjust my hours around school. I wouldn't have changed any of it. I think it makes me a better nurse and coworker.
  12. by   CoffeeRTC
    Lots of posts/ threads on this issue..you can try doing a search of allnurses.

    I did it while going to school for my BSN. At that time we had very little hands on training. Never regretted it.
  13. by   TexasPediRN
    I worked as a student nurse aide for 2 years while going to school and like the above post said, I never regretted it.

    Even though you cant do what the nurse does, I learned so much, and the people I worked with were willing to teach me things and let me come in the the room with them for dressing changes, etc.

    Working in the hospital is pretty much the only way that I got comfortable with IV's, charts, putting through dr's orders, etc. It helped since I worked at that hospital for 3 months after graduation- it really made the transition easy and I already had my foot in the door.

    You can still practice skills you learned in school as an aide- I did! I listened to lung sounds and bowels in addition to doing my vitals, just to practice. Most patients dont mind.
    Just wanted to add my 2 cents

  14. by   jacob1
    I have worked as a CNA on and off now for about 11 years, i should be a pro at it, lol.....I am now going to school for my RN and i am glad i have the experience in patient care and have been exsposed to the hospital setting since thats where i work....A few years ago i never heard of CNA working in maryland hospitals so i only worked in LTC, which i think i would like to go back too when i am done school...The hardest part for me being a CNA is i feel alot of times like you are not appreciated, but thats ok...I am sure the nurses feel like that somethimes too, i think that just goes with the business.....

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