Should I be a CNA?

  1. Hello all! A little background on my current situation: I am a year away from completing a BA in Spanish and am interested in startin nursing school in Fall 2006 so I can gain residency (if I choose to stay in my present location, anyway) and get married in the meantime. I have not decided on a school yet, but I've been using my current University as a template to figure out general prereqs I should take, etc. This particular school is big on previous work/volunteer experience in the medical field for admission.

    Since I'm going to have this year-long gap between my graduation and my nursing school, would it be beneficial to me to take a CNA course and work as a CNA until I start school? I'm curious about the pay, as well as the possible work environments. I've mostly read about CNA's in nursing homes, and that really doesn't appeal to me. Are there opportunities to be a CNA in a hospital setting?

    Thanks for the info,

    Meghan
    •  
  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   RedSox33RN
    Becoming a CNA may be beneficial to you, but may not put any money in your pocket before nursing school. If money is not an issue, I would say you should consider it. You could learn quite a bit, and expose yourself to the world of nursing. But there could be drawbacks, depending on where you work, and how long the CNA course is.

    A friend of mine became a CNA, and literally all she did was change bedpans, clean poop, and change beds. The ONLY patient contact she had, truly, was with the "rear". And all for the lovely starting salary of $13/hr. She also did this in preparation for LPN school, which she eventually did go to, but needed alot of financial aid, since her job paid so poorly, and she got the worst hours.

    But.......there were several people whom I spoke with at a meeting for prospective RN's at one of the schools I applied to that were CNA in hospitals, not LTC facilities, who LOVED their job, had a lot of good patient contact, learned a LOT from the nurses, and got paid well for their time and shift differential.

    I think you should research the facility offering the CNA course (I know a lot of LTC facilities around here offer it, in exchange for a year's worth of employment, hence the low pay).

    Overall though, I think any exposure to the health field can only be a plus for a nursing or prospective nursing student.

    I'm not a CNA, so many some CNA's will offer much better advice. All of mine is second-hand stuff! :imbar
  4. by   Megsd
    Thanks so much for the info, Whitney. The place I'm looking at taking the course is actually a local community college. The class is a 96 hour course offered over 1-2 months, depending on how often you go to class. It looks like the emphasis is on general procedures, dealing with the elderly, and a section on "other environments" like acute care.

    If anyone's got info on pay for hospital-setting CNA's, that'd be very helpful also.

    Meghan
  5. by   pcelest2003
    Not much $ as a CNA. I am a CNA or sometimes called a PCT in large teaching hopitals. You'll even change poop as a nurse, so try not to get stuck up to soon. I started off in Med surg, then, PICU, and now I'm a neonatal tech. Still a student taking dreaded pre-reqs. If you find a job in the summer paying well take it. You'll need to cash. Some hospitals hire interpreters, and the pay is good. You'll catch up in clinicals on basic care. However, if you do decide to go the CNA route start off in med surg. It's busy a hell, but if you latch on learn, and get a good team leader, things go rather quickly. Work for the hopital 6mos to year get your tuition reimbursed.
  6. by   pcelest2003
    [QUOTE=Megsd]Thanks so much for the info, Whitney. The place I'm looking at taking the course is actually a local community college. The class is a 96 hour course offered over 1-2 months, depending on how often you go to class. It looks like the emphasis is on general procedures, dealing with the elderly, and a section on "other environments" like acute care.

    If anyone's got info on pay for hospital-setting CNA's, that'd be very helpful also.

    Meghan[/QUO
  7. by   pcelest2003
    Pay in chicago area is anywhere between 8.00 to 13.00/hr. sad, but depends on where you start. Depends on your drive. If you plan to go into acute care apply to the hospitals. Hosp usually pay more. Start off in med surg if you can. In addition, you'll be able to work your way into the ICU if your good. But it's rare, but you have to be on the ball. ICU nurses can be a bit demanding, but if your good ,they have no choice but to respect you and your skill. Just remember the ICU is a high stress environ. I worked the PICU as a tech. Hence, the parents are something else, but can you blame them. I liked sicu in peds. sicu is a pretty clean environment. Adult micu is rough. As a tech I mostly get floated between the icu's only. Let me know if you have any further questions. Oh, neuro is rough as well. It all depends on what you like? Ya know?
  8. by   pcelest2003
    If you take care of your nurses, they will take care of you. Just remember you are a team and not a slave.
  9. by   francine79
    Yes! Yes! Yes! I think all nursing students should work as CNA's. Forget thinking about the money, it's not the reason to be one. The reason is: it will give you a chance to see what a nurse really does. As my clinical instructor said, 65% of what a nurse does, does not require a skill learned in nursing school. it will expose you to the medical world and you will learn A LOT about nursing. You will be able to see how what you learn in nursing school is applied in the real world of nursing. Also what I think is one that is most important is, it will help you gain more respect for the CNA's when you are done. Where I work I can tell the nurses that have never been CNA's before because they will not do a single thing that is a "CNA's job." They will actually leave the patient's room to hunt you down to tell you your patient needs to go to the bathroom. Even if you can only work 1 day a week, I think you should definitely work as a CNA. Especially if you have no previous experience in the health care profession. Nursing school will be a lot easier for you because you will be exposed to what they are talking about, and when you graduate, your transition from a CNA to an RN will be alot easier because you've worked in a hospital, you see what the nurses do, so you will kind of know the ropes. Also, it pretty much can guarantee you a job when you graduate as well. Even though there is a nursing shortage, doesn't mean you will be able to get a job as easy as it is made out to be. There are several new graduates that I know and it has been 6 months since they passed boards and still can't find a job.

close