During school did you work in a healthcare environment as a CNA or something similar?
Yes. I started working as a unit clerk about a year before I even started nursing school
, because I wanted to be sure I would like working in a hospital before I started taking classes to be a nurse. After about 9 months as a clerk, I cross trained as a patient care tech, to gain hands on experience with the patients.
Did you volunteer at any of the local healthcare facilities during your studies?
No, but if I had been unable to get a paying job in the field, I would have, for the above reasons.
If you did either of these did you find it helped when you first went to get employment as an RN?
Yes. The job that I am about to start is one that I definitely would not have gotten without my experience on the floor. It was advertised as needing an RN with neuro experience, however, my 2+ years of PCT/UC experience in neuro made me eligible. In addition, since the nurse manager knew me and my work ethic, she didn't even interview me. I expressed an interest in the job, and a few days later, was told it was mine.
That said, I can't stress how valuable floor experience is when you are going to nursing school. I really think that schools
should make it a requirement, because I can't tell you how many people who started school with me had no experience with taking care of patients. After our first few clinical experiences, they realized it wasn't for them, and dropped out of the program. If it was required to have that experience before starting, those spots in my class could have gone to someone who would have stuck it out. JMHO- hope it helps! :icon_roll