How many of you worked as CNA's before you became LPN/LVN's??? - page 2

Title says it all! Was just wondering how many of you worked as CNA's before you became LPN/LVN's? Are you glad you did? Would you recommend working while you are in school? Thanks for any advice... Read More

  1. by   pagandeva2000
    Quote from chesara
    I have a question - is a CNA and a Patient Care Tech the same thing? I looked at the job openings for one of the local hospitals and they had lots of openings for Patient Care Tech.

    Here's what the qualifications for the job are: Must be either a Certified Nursing Assistant or a Nursing Student who has completed the Nursing Fundamentals class.

    It confused me because the listing doesn't say CNA. Anyone know?

    It is basically the same as CNA, but with additional skills such as phlebotomy, interpeting EKGs, and clerical functions...at least that was the function of the facility that I worked for when I held that position. If you have completed a CNA course, you should have no problem in complying with the additional skills to become a patient care technician/associate.
  2. by   chesara
    Thanks pagandeva2000 for clearing that up. I'm currently not anything in the healthcare field but have applied to the local tech school in the hopes of getting into the LPN program. They also offer the CNA course and I thought I might start there but don't seem to have the support of my husband or mother on that one.

    My mother says I won't be able to handle working in a nursing home environment or doing the things a CNA does. My husband doesn't understand why I'd want to start at "the bottom" since I already have a degree in another field and he's getting impatient with me not finding a career because I'm almost 40 and he's concerned about my retirement prospects. I guess my plan of sponging off his has been uncovered .

    Well, I don't consider it "the bottom" as I'm sure anyone who has ever been a CNA does either. Maybe in terms of pay it can be but not in terms of getting one's feet wet so to speak. I like to ease into things. Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's not. I thought it would be a good idea to maybe get the CNA certificate but still continue with the LPN route, then maybe eventually RN.

    I know it's ultimately my decision but it takes some of the excitement out of my decision to finally know at the age of 39 that healthcare is my calling, to get discouraging remarks from two of the most important people to me.

    I really want to work now and understand my husband's frustration and I thought starting as a CNA and working part-time at that while going through LPN school would be good, especially if there's a waiting list.

    But maybe I can't handle being a CNA? I hate second-guessing myself. I'm not afraid of doing the dirty work but my mom seems to think once I actually see and do it, I'll run for the hills. Any advice? What does a CNA typically do? I've read up on it but would love to hear from those who actually are/have been a CNA.
  3. by   pepperann35
    I worked as a CNA for 2 years before going to LPN school. It helped me greatly. It will help you understand your school work better and it helped me on the state boards. You also have to supervise CNA's when you are out of school and it will give you great insight and you will have much respect from them. I worked weekends only while in school. Good luck!
  4. by   TheCommuter
    While I never had the CNA certificate, I did work as an unlicensed aide at a Southern California group home for mentally-retarded adults for 8 months in 2000 and 2001. I basically did CNA and medication aide duties. I gave showers, fed residents, dressed them, passed oral meds, changed diapers, toileted, and packed lunches. I left this job because it only paid $8 hourly, whereas a factory was offering to pay me $13 hourly.

    I attended an LVN program in 2004 and 2005, and did not work during that time. I lived off unemployment checks.
  5. by   pagandeva2000
    Basically, it involved much of what TheCommuter mentioned except in my case, at the nursing home, I did not administer medications, but I did give oral meds at a facility of the mentally retarded, also. It can be backbreaking work, and very demanding (heck, actually, nursing is, too, but it is the mental component added to the mix). I have done it myself and don't regret it, but if I had a choice, I probably would not want to do it while attending nursing school simply because nursing school can be laborous itself. That is just my personal opinion...about being a CNA while in class. But, no matter what, you WILL walk away with a great deal of experience on how to deal with patients at their worst. If there is a need for money or a desire for experience in nursing from the ground up, then, I say to go ahead and do it. You will manage school the same as others who work laborous jobs.

    I worked as a patient care associate/tech in a clinic and it was a bit easier because basically, I did vital signs, draw blood, do EKGs and make appointments. That same facility paid my way to go to school on a full time leave with pay to become an LPN and I am now working in the same clinic again as a nurse. I can certainly appreciate the value of a good aide and thing that they should be treated with respect. They can be our eyes and ears. What I feel guilty about is that I am not really in the position to assist them as often as I would like to because now, the job entails even more and I am still learning, but, I try when I have a free moment.
  6. by   NurseElaine
    I also worked as a CNA for many, many years prior to becoming an LVN. I also worked fulltime while in school. I think that CNAs make WONDERFUL nurses. I have always been a strong advocate for CNAs as they are definitely our eyes and ears on the floor. CNAs need to be applauded for ALL that they do. It takes a special person to do the work of a CNA.
  7. by   jaacosmom
    Quote from JonesLL
    I worked as a CNA and ward clerk prior to becoming an LVN. My motto is ,"Don't forget where you have been."
    I have worked as an CNA for nine years before getting my LPN. I think this kind of experience is invaluable to any nursing candidate. You will learn alot about nursing care, positioning of pts, taking vital signs, etc. It will also help you to appreciated the hard work that the people you may eventually be in charge of do. Not to mention it just may get your foot in the door for a position as an LPN once you graduate. Many places go on seniority and post job openings internally before opening the job to outsiders. Establish your self as a hard conscientous worker and you'll find it easy to move up and on. Many nursing homes and hospitals are very willing to work around student nurse class schedules and help out with tuition (usually with an agreement that you work at that facility for a specified period of time). Good luck.
  8. by   nursesaideBen
    I worked as CNA at a nursing home and rehab the first year I was an aide and through the first half of the LPN program the past 9 months I've been working at a hospital on the medical care unit and it really helped me out not only with patient care and interaction and things but also with Med/surg because I was exposed to patients every night/day at work that had many of the conditions we were discussing in class. It also helped me get my foot in the door at the hospital and they've hired me for when I graduate in 2 weeks :-D experience as a CNA is invaluable simply put.
  9. by   kstec
    I would definitely say to work as a CNA, not because you won't make it through nursing school, but because you get to learn alot without the pressure of an instructor looking over your shoulder.. And it is also good to see what CNA's do and you will have a whole new respect for what they do. Also if you have never worked as a CNA and do it while going to nursing school, it is an excellent way to learn assessment skills (edema, lung crackles, bowel sounds, hypo or hyperglycemic reactions, abnormal vitals, signs of infection and on and on). Ask lots of questions and it will definitely be beneficial.
  10. by   scoobydoo32
    i worked as a nurses aide for 6 yr and loved it i am currently about to graduate from lpn school. its true when u work as a nurses aide you learn alot about pt care and about how to appreciate your fellow collegues. good luck with school
  11. by   jaacosmom
    Quote from chesara
    I have a question - is a CNA and a Patient Care Tech the same thing? I looked at the job openings for one of the local hospitals and they had lots of openings for Patient Care Tech.

    Here's what the qualifications for the job are: Must be either a Certified Nursing Assistant or a Nursing Student who has completed the Nursing Fundamentals class.

    It confused me because the listing doesn't say CNA. Anyone know?
    It sounds like the same thing to me. CNA does stand for certified nurses aid and in some places its CENA (competency evaluated nurse aide). When I worked as a CNA there was lots of debate on what title to give the nurse aides. It seems that they like to call everyone some sort of tech. They call porters where I work surgical tech II and mostly they bring in house patients around to various departments for various tests or surgery.
  12. by   jaacosmom
    Quote from chesara
    Thanks pagandeva2000 for clearing that up. I'm currently not anything in the healthcare field but have applied to the local tech school in the hopes of getting into the LPN program. They also offer the CNA course and I thought I might start there but don't seem to have the support of my husband or mother on that one.

    My mother says I won't be able to handle working in a nursing home environment or doing the things a CNA does. My husband doesn't understand why I'd want to start at "the bottom" since I already have a degree in another field and he's getting impatient with me not finding a career because I'm almost 40 and he's concerned about my retirement prospects. I guess my plan of sponging off his has been uncovered .

    Well, I don't consider it "the bottom" as I'm sure anyone who has ever been a CNA does either. Maybe in terms of pay it can be but not in terms of getting one's feet wet so to speak. I like to ease into things. Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's not. I thought it would be a good idea to maybe get the CNA certificate but still continue with the LPN route, then maybe eventually RN.

    I know it's ultimately my decision but it takes some of the excitement out of my decision to finally know at the age of 39 that healthcare is my calling, to get discouraging remarks from two of the most important people to me.

    I really want to work now and understand my husband's frustration and I thought starting as a CNA and working part-time at that while going through LPN school would be good, especially if there's a waiting list.

    But maybe I can't handle being a CNA? I hate second-guessing myself. I'm not afraid of doing the dirty work but my mom seems to think once I actually see and do it, I'll run for the hills. Any advice? What does a CNA typically do? I've read up on it but would love to hear from those who actually are/have been a CNA.

    As far as nursing people CNAs are rather at the bottom of the pile; however getting aide experience is a very good idea. You will learn your most basic nursing skills here and probably know them well by the time you graduate with your PN degree. You will also learn to appreciate what hard work the people you may eventually be in charge of do. Aides at nursing homes usually have to be certified (in Michigan this is so). They assisted residents with ther activities of daily living (ADLs). A very polite way of saying washing, bathing, toileting, walking, feeding, doing hair, brushing teeth, making beds, changing soiled undergarments (yes, I mean poop and pee), doing pericare (cleaning dirty butts), and any other activity that would be considered an everyday kind of thing. At some places it may mean giving bowel care (that's enemas or suppositories) or doing vital signs (temperature, pulse, and blood pressure). It is hard work and usually you're short staffed. I recommend finding out what the facility's you are considering working at aide to patient ratio is. That will give you some kind of work load you will be loking at. For instance an aide to patient ratio for the day time of 1 aide to 15 residents is bad. 1 aide to 6-8 is much better. 1 aide to 15 residents on a night shift however isn't to bad. Also talk to the aides working their especially if you know one of them. You'll get a better idea of the working conditions. The demand for aides is usually high so you can kind of interview the places you want to work at to.
    Last edit by jaacosmom on May 5, '07 : Reason: add
  13. by   lpnstudent40
    I have worked as a CNA/HHA for the last 21 years. Started out in nursing homes then to private duty, then to homecare for 8 years and back to private duty. It has helped me out tremendously in school. I will never ever forget where I came from!

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