CNA before RN?

  1. 0
    Ok so most of the schools in my area have told me that they require a CNA license before you can apply to RN school. I just graduated high school ( over a semester early) so I decided to go ahead and take the CNA class. I was just wandering do you think it is important to work as a CNA before becoming an RN or will just taking the class be enough?


    Thanks
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  4. 10 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    I start nursing school in January, and working as a CNA has helped me to overcome my shyness with patients and touching people. I don't know if you struggle with those things, but it certainly would give you an advantage. However, you don't *need* to use it, per se, to become a nurse. Good luck.
  6. 1
    I am in an RN program right now and the majority of the class have never actually used their CNA. It was mandatory for us to have either taken the CNA training within five years of starting RN school or be actively working as a CNA somewhere.

    You will hear many people say CNA experience is a great thing to have when you go looking for that RN job, and that may be true, but what is likely more important is what personal contacts you have that may help you get that RN job. Who you know makes a great deal of difference in a tight job market.

    As for the usefulness of CNA experience compared to inexperienced RN students, well, some of both are idiots and some of both will be great nurses...

    CNA work will likely help you get more comfortable around patients, acclimate you to feces, and let some managers know your name in whatever facility you work (assuming you are good, dependable, etc...)

    Don't let people tell you that lots of CNA experience will make interviewers assume you would be a great nurse though. The skills are different, as are the jobs. Some are much better at one than the other.

    Good luck. You're gonna need it.

    P.S. There is no nursing shortage...but the best will likely find jobs anyway.
    SkylerW likes this.
  7. 1
    I suspect that I will be in the minority on this one.
    More often than not, I think working as a CNA prior to becoming a nurse does nothing but produce nurses that are half-burnt before they even get started.
    SkylerW likes this.
  8. 1
    Hello SkylerW,


    The program you are applying to may require a CNA license so that all their students have plenty of the fundamental bedside skills taught in the first semester and can hit the ground running. It will certainly be valuable but I do not think it is necessary to work as a CNA before applying to RN programs. One can learn to take vital signs, transfer, feed, bathe, exercise patients etc. during the nursing program.

    Being a CNA is backbreaking and often heartbreaking work. I took a class but never pursued a license much less worked as a CNA after seeing how incredibly overworked and overwhelmed most CNAs are.

    However, working as a CNA can have its advantages. You get to see the reality of healthcare, observe and help nurses and doctors, see interesting cases outside of school and increase your chances of being employed right out of graduation if your employer is likely to promote you.

    Good luck!
    SkylerW likes this.
  9. 0
    SkylerW I’m glad you posted this question; I was going to ask something similar. In my college, we do not need to be a CNA before we start, you can apply for your CNA license after you pass fundamentals in Maryland. We just have to fill out a form with our transcript and go get finger printed. However, I think it would be a plus to get your license and maybe even work experience beforehand. I was terrified during my first clinical because they just threw us into the hospital and said here; give this person a bed bath, toilet, change their sheets, ambulate, etc. when all we did was watch a few video’s first and practice as “team” on a mannequin. I feel like if I was a tech first, I would have overcome all those fears rather quickly.
  10. 0
    Thanks for all of your responses. I will say that I am fine around patients. I volunteered at a hospital since I was 14 most weeks 40 hours+ ( my mom was a charge nurse, and I was home schooled for a while) I know how to take vitals, Ambulate Pts, I have helped clean them up many times, I have a assisted with wound care, I even took classes to be able to preform & read ekgs/telemetry. The only thing I am truly concerned with is when I apply to RN school will it look bad on me that I never actually worked in health care?
  11. 0
    Quote from SkylerW
    Thanks for all of your responses. I will say that I am fine around patients. I volunteered at a hospital since I was 14 most weeks 40 hours+ ( my mom was a charge nurse, and I was home schooled for a while) I know how to take vitals, Ambulate Pts, I have helped clean them up many times, I have a assisted with wound care, I even took classes to be able to preform & read ekgs/telemetry. The only thing I am truly concerned with is when I apply to RN school will it look bad on me that I never actually worked in health care?
    Some schools definitely favor candidates with health care experience but it a lack of it will not disqualify you outright. Most of your classmates will not have any either.

    As far as the job market goes, I don't think you can go terribly far by having a CNA work experience since employers more often than not specify "RN experience" or "nursing experience in XYZ area" in their want ads. I am a new grad RN with 5 years of experience as a LVN. Doors aren't exactly swinging open for me left and right.
  12. 0
    Quote from Cuddleswithpuddles
    Some schools definitely favor candidates with health care experience but it a lack of it will not disqualify you outright. Most of your classmates will not have any either.

    As far as the job market goes, I don't think you can go terribly far by having a CNA work experience since employers more often than not specify "RN experience" or "nursing experience in XYZ area" in their want ads. I am a new grad RN with 5 years of experience as a LVN. Doors aren't exactly swinging open for me left and right.

    I am not understanding why there is such a over saturation of nurses in some areas. The hospital that I have volunteered at since I was 14 takes new grads all the time at any given time they have like 20 positions that require no experience that even includes ICU and ED!!!
  13. 0
    Quote from SkylerW
    I am not understanding why there is such a over saturation of nurses in some areas. The hospital that I have volunteered at since I was 14 takes new grads all the time at any given time they have like 20 positions that require no experience that even includes ICU and ED!!!
    Where do you live, if you don't mind me asking?


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