Nursing Students, did you have to have your NA certification prior to nursing school?

  1. Hey everyone! I hope you are all having a nice end to the semester.... ugg...

    I have a question.. I posted this on the CNA forum, but I wanted to post here too as I was curious as to what you have all done...

    I have to be on the MN NA registry to apply to nursing school. I am registered to take the course this summer... it is M-Th from 8am -2pm and my school is 30 minutes away. I will be picking up the babysitter in the morning and bringing her home in the afternoon... I have 3 kids and I am paying her 25.00 a day (totaling 500.00) for 5 weeks.
    My class costs almost 600.00 and I also have to pay for books, a uniform, and the ins cov. Not to mention gas which is almost at 3.00/gal right now...

    Anyway... the class is going to run me well over 1000.00 and the only reason I need it is to apply to the program. I will not be working as a CNA prior to school as I stay home with my kids...

    So my question is (finally)... did you HAVE to take the course prior to NS, if you did, would you recommend it? Or do you think I should try to test out of it? In Minnesota they allow you to take the test out for 175.00. If I fail the skills portion, I can retake it for 85.00. I'm just wondering what the chances are that I would pass it without actually taking the course...I'm extremely nervous about failing something that I have never done before. (I only volunteer at a hospital, I've never done the work of a CNA before)

    I was all set to take the class. Then someone in my class now said I should try and test out of it. My husband is thinking the same thing... he said either way is fine, but he's leaning towards the test out. I just want someone elses opinion that is going to nursing school and has been through something similar to this....

    Thank you all for reading this. I'm sorry it is so long. It's driving me nuts not knowing what I should do..

    Thanks again!

    Jennifer
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   shleynic
    In your situation I would definatley attempt to test out. I've been a CNA for 8yrs and I'm in my first semster of nursing school now. CNA stuff is mostly common sense, but it nice to go into this stuff prepared. I'm sure you could get ahold of a CNA test study guide at barnes and noble. It would certainly be cheaper than $1000. I think the most difficult thing to learn if you never done it before is taking a blood pressure. However...you can buy a stethoscope and BP cuff fairly cheap at walgreens I think. Just read the book and practice on you husband. I'm sure you'll do fine.
  4. by   Lisa CCU RN
    No, I didn't have to, but I'd take the class. In my CNA training, I learned how to take BP, pulse, resp, transfers, inserting foleys, bathing, how to deal with patients, time management, how to empty foleys, I & O, and got an appreciation for CNA's. I was a CNA for four years before I started nursing school and I feel like it helped a lot.

    Of course my training was free and I was actually paid, but you will feel much more confident with patients and the people I was in clinicals with first semester noticed that.

    Also, you will be able to focus on learning the other basics of nursing rather than being new to everything.
    Another thing about the transfers, we didn't get any real experience with that in clinicals and I think that comes in handy.

    There is much to learn as a CNA that you can't get form just reading a book, and even if you don't work as a nurse aide, you will still be ahead of the game. If you do work as a CNA, pay attention to some of the patients illness and manifestations and it will help with classes beyond foundations too.
    Last edit by Lisa CCU RN on May 7, '07
  5. by   Achoo!
    We did not have to have it prior to applying to the program, but it had to be done before we could start the program. Many did it during the waiting list period.
  6. by   puggymae
    At our school you have to have the nurse aide course before you can apply to the program.
  7. by   amyk_ncsu
    I applied to 3 schools, and the two hospital based programs required the NA course and the community college didn't. I chose one of the programs that required it, but several of my friends have taken the course but still have yet to get scheduled to take the NA exam/practicals and we started nursing school in January. So, I'm really not sure how strict they are on having the course, but they claim to require it.

    I think you could probably easily test out of it if you just learn the skills. Just get a book and learn the procedures for the skills, and you should do fine. Sounds like you'll save tons of money even if you have to retest once or twice.

    If you aren't comfortable testing out of it, you could try to find somewhere cheaper to take the course. I took it at a community college for about $130 + book and uniform (~$75).

    Good luck in whatever you choose!
  8. by   luvmy3kids
    Thanks everyone for your replies. I still don't know what I am going to do. I just wanted to add that I do have a HUGE appreciation for CNA's... they do back breaking work and don't get paid nearly enough for what they are worth...I know I would learn a lot during this class, but it doesn't seem like I will learn anything that I wouldn't learn in nursing school... KWIM??

    I'd like to know if anyone has tested out of the class and/or if you think it is passable without the class... Also do you feel that you really need it to succeed in nursing school....??? Ugg...

    Thanks again.. any other ideas or responses would really be appreciated!
  9. by   Megsd
    Quote from luvmy3kids
    I know I would learn a lot during this class, but it doesn't seem like I will learn anything that I wouldn't learn in nursing school... KWIM??
    Well, the thing is, if your program requires you to take the class and be certified, it's probably because they aren't planning to teach you that info in nursing school, which is why they're sending you elsewhere to get the info. For my accelerated BSN program we were required to be certified as CNAs. We started clinical our second week of school and were responsible for every CNA-level skill plus everything we learned in skills lab. Obviously if you had questions you could ask, but it was assumed by the time we started nursing school that we were familiar and comfortable with all the CNA skills.

    So if the requirement were optional I'd say yeah, they'll teach you that stuff, but if they require it, it might be because it's the only place to get that information.

    Just something to think about. I know the financial piece is a real pain in the rear.
  10. by   Cherish
    I know a local school around here requires you take the course. I took the course a couple of months ago. Haven't taken the certification (I don't know if I want to) since I start NS soo it really doesn't matter at my school if you have your CNA or not.
  11. by   Scrubz
    You have to have your CNA to get into most schools of nursing, and I agree with that. I really reccomend getting your CNA and working as one piror to and during nursing school because working as a CNA, especially in a hospital, exposes you to many things. Not only do you build some good sense about how to handle yourself in a healthcare environment, and how to interact with patients, but you also get to see a lot of cool stuff and you'll get to see how a healthcare system really works from an inside perspective.

    Working as a CNA before and during nursing school will definitly give you a leg up on your classmates who've never worked in a healthcare setting before. You'll be suprised at some of the stuff your classmates won't know. One girl came up to me once and actually asked me if A bed was the frist bed and if B bed was the second... Yeah.... :trout:

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