Should I become a CNA?

  1. I am just finishing my first year in an ADN program. I have worked in a hospital for six years as an orderly. I really enjoy the patient care aspects of my job, but these are limited. About half my work is actually housekeeping, which is important and useful, but dull.
    By virtue of nursing school, I am now eligible to take the CNA exam. I definitely wish I had become an aide before school, but wonder how much sense it would make, now. The only really new thing I would learn is phlebotomy, although I can still use all the practice I can get with vitals.
    I plan to discuss options and seek advice during my upcoming evaluation with my Nurse Manager, but would appreciate any input anyone has to offer. The aides I work with say I definitely should make the switch, but I wonder if it would even be worth it to train me, since I graduate in less than a year.
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   Altra
    NurseMike?,

    I think it would be worth looking into ... don't underestimate the value of being trained in phlebotomy. I don't know about your nursing program, but many have precious little time to teach venipuncture, and it's definitely a skill that takes time to get the "feel" of it. I've also heard that CNAs who are nursing students are often given the chance to at least observe things that are outside the scope of a CNA's responsibilities, and this can be valuable too.

    Just curious ... it's been a while since I've heard the term "orderly" used ... just what is that position at your hospital, if it's not CNA-type duties? A combination of patient escort & housekeeping?
  4. by   nursemike
    Exactly right--part transport, part housekeeping, part anything else nobody wants to do. I spend a lot of time getting people into and out of bed and often assist nurses, CNA's, and sometimes even docs, with their respective procedures. It isn't a bad job, but I feel ready for more.

    I think the day I really got the bug to go back to school was when I was transfering an elderly lady to our in-house Skilled Nursing Unit. She thanked me for the gentle way I'd handled her on several trips to PT and tests, and I walked back to my home unit (ortho, then) feeling like I was 5-foot-10.
    Thinking I'll either stay in neuro or go back to ortho after school--both places where a
    strong back and a soft heart can be useful.
    Thanks for the advice--I'll consider it carefully.
    (My position is officially "Support Associate" and aides are "Clinical Associates", but we usually say SA and CA.)
    Last edit by nursemike? on May 31, '04
  5. by   reddgott
    If you have the time to take the exam (cause I know what it's like when you are in school and working) go for it. I was a cna for 2 years before I graduated, and the experience was invaluable to my education. You see and hear and do things as an aide that you can directly relate to your theory and labs, which make the entire learning process much easier. It's one thing to read about how to insert an NG tube, but to witness it and assisst in it is on a whole other level.

    Congradulations to you for going back to school.

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