CNA before LPN? benificial?

  1. i'm planning to attend an lpn program in jan. i'm looking forward to it, but i have a few doubts. i have no problem working long hours but i am a little nervous about needles, it's funny because blood, etc doesn't really bother me. anyway i was told to try being a cna before going lpn... i don't think this is what would best because from what i understand cnas get the "crap" work and most if not all positions are at nursing homes, which is my last choice as to where work when becoming an lpn. not to down any cnas but there is also a problem with changing my scedule where i would work now to get the cna. i would really like to know what other people think that are already an lpn or rn... did you go for cna before going further? regret it? wish you would have? thanks for your help, it's much appreciated.
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   BBFRN
    Hi- I was a CNA, now an LPN, and will have my RN by Summer. The CNA job helped me tremendously. You can get a kind of exposure to pt care that you wouldn't get otherwise. I suggest finding a Nursing Tech job in a hospital (you don't have to have certification, and if you're a nursing student you pretty much will have the job handed to you). Don't hire on full time, though- they will try to talk you into that. Tell them you want a PRN schedule so you can work around your school schedule. You'll have a very full plate as it is while you're in school. And the best way to get over things that gross you out is to be exposed to them on a regular basis. After a while blood, etc. will not even phase you.

    Now if you want to work in a nursing home when you get out, you should be able to sit for state CNA certification after your first semester of clinicals, because there is a lot of CNA work learned in that semester (in most LPN schools). Most nursing homes that I know of require a nurse's aide to be certified, unlike a lot of the hospitals.

    CNA/Tech work is very hard work, but so is nursing.
  4. by   CHATSDALE
    I went to lpn school with a lot of cna's and I felt like they had an edge many of the basic terms that they used on an every day basis was greek to me also this will give you a window on the world you are going into maybe after this you will choose another career or perhaps you will enjoy the first bite of the apple and choose to go on try the cna route best of luck
  5. by   cantoo
    I started out as an Army medic, then CNA, then ADN, then BSN. I can't tell you how valuable that CNA training was and still is for me. When I worked in critical care, we didn't have CNA's or techs on the units....it was all total care. I am now A DON in a 120 bed LTC facility and I still give baths, change briefs and feed patients. I get so much respect from my CNA's because they know I've been there, done that and am still doing it. One thing I can't tolerate is a nurse who won't answer call lights or take a resident to the bathroom because "that's the CNA's job". Yes, some of these things are taught in LPN school, but to truley have a good understanding of what is asked of a CNA or tech, one must...at least occasionally....do the job. JMO! Good luck in your schooling.
  6. by   Dixiecup
    I had no prior medical background before I entered LPN school. I am now an RN. I pride myself in not being on of those RNs with RNitis. If my aids are drowning I like to get out there and help and they respect this. My only problem is, they touch on this stuff a little bit in school but no enough. I truly can't help out a lot because I just don't know how! I am more than willing to do anything they ask or show me what to do. But if I had to be an aid by myself with a team of patients, I couldn't do it and it really frustrates me. So I'm constantly having my aids teach me cna work ( they get a kick out of it!) Even thoug I'm an RN I stil feel really inadeuate at times.
  7. by   missnurse01
    I have to say that it was opposite for me. I never really considered becoming a CNA first and don't think that I would have been employed long if I had. The only thing that kept me going through nursing school and clinicals was the fact that I probably wouldn't be doing bed baths (or at least not by myself) for a ton of pts. I always felt in school-and granted I probably would have gotten better and quicker with practice-that I never had time to encourage those older pts like you are supposed to (for them to help themselves as much as possible)...it was always rush to do pt care so you could do paperwork, give meds, everything else. Everyone has a different aspect that they like and do well at in nursing, this might fit you. It seems like our er techs get to do a lot, and I would have liked that and found it interesting before school...but maybe it's just that er is the right fit for me. Knowing hands on care would take some stress out of nursing school, that is for sure. Good luck!
  8. by   suzanne4
    Some schools actually require that you first become a CNA before they will give you admission to their program.
  9. by   KacyLynnRN
    I was a CNA for 3 years before I became an LPN. It helped me gain experience and get comfortable working with patients before I started school. I definitely feel it gave me a 'leg up' in clinicals. I worked part of the time I was a CNA in nursing homes, and the last year in a hospital. There are different types of work environments for CNA's besides the nursing homes, you just have to look around. I would definitely recommend being a CNA first...can only help you with school! Good luck.
  10. by   SharkLPN
    Absolutely go for a CNA before or during LPN school. I was non-cert for 2 years at a hospital before my first semester in LPN classes were over; after that, I was allowed to transfer to a CNA position based on my LPN education regarding basic patient care.

    I'll have to really disagree with Missnurse on her comment about basic pt care. From being in their shoes, I totally understand how my CNAs are busy (if not more) during my first few hours on shift. And, nothing is as important for elderly pts than promoting self-care and independence, and that's where a savvy CNA or nurse can make the difference. It might take longer, might keep you overwhelmed and stressed during your shift, but I'd prefer one of my LOLs to get out of bed and slowly ambulate to the restroom, rather than shove a bedpan under them to save time and effort. My favorite quote at work is, "If you don't use it, you lose it!".

    At the same time, I work with nurses who refuse to do basic care because they didn't go through four years to get a BSN for such 'menial' tasks.

    Oh, and needles and the sight of blood used to give me the weak-kneed willies. You do get used to it. Really. If you told me 10 years ago that I'd be drawing blood out of a half dozen people a night a work, I'd think you were insane. Now it's the portion of my job that I enjoy, and have co-workers approach me for advice on. Go figure! :chuckle
  11. by   Darlene K.
    Once you get your LPN, you may be supervising CNA's depending on where you work. Having worked as a CNA, you would have a much better understanding of their role, as well as how difficult their job can be. You will certainly appreciate it when you have a good CNA working with you. The on the job experience will come in handy.

    Best of luck to you!

    Darlene
  12. by   OneChattyNurse
    i was a cna prior to lpn school. i whole heartedly believe it gave me an edge over my classmates that did not go that route. you learn the basic interpersonal skills needed to relate to patients. you also learn some of the basic terminology and how to take vitals. i also can really relate to my staff better and help them out as much as i can!
    good luck to you!
  13. by   dtgrayson
    Don't mean to cut in on your post....I want to go the LPN route to go on and get my BSN...I am having a very hard time finding schools that offer the LPN program..whether it be online or not. My main goal is to become an RN but i don't want to go the CNA route. It also seems as if there is some kind of wait to get into any associates program for nursing for ADN. If someone can give me some insight on this; i would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks!
  14. by   lucylu 777
    I don't know where you live but in IL, you have to be a CNA certified before you start applying anywhere. I would reccomend that you try working as a Cna first - it will open your eyes in ways you never thought of nursing, you can make a crucial decision for your future - you eather have a neck for it or you don't, because not always but mostly LPN's work in nursing homes and cleaning "crap" is their daily job - not only CNA ( there is a lot of nurses that abuse their cna's thinking that, that sort of job is sole cna's - very wrong thinking! and you will get burned out on the job).
    You can work as a patient care technitian in acute care hospital, which is what I did and I have learned so much - very hard work - but that's what's nurisng is all about. I think that if you have a time to spare before your programm you should go ahead and try working - get use to the site of sh-t it will help you in clinicals.Good luck!!!!

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