Graduating Soon: Should I take the CNA exam to get working experience? Graduating Soon: Should I take the CNA exam to get working experience? | allnurses

Graduating Soon: Should I take the CNA exam to get working experience?

  1. 1 Hi Nurse Beth,

    My name is Martina and I would like to ask you a question since I feel so lost and I don’t know who to ask. I am a nursing student graduating in December 2016 and I was (still I am) searching any job before graduation so after I graduate I have some experience. Unfortunately, I am not that lucky to find something, so I was wondering to take CNA exam while finishing 4th semester in nursing school. My question is: do you think that it worth it? if yes, where can I get books to prepare for CNA exam? Thanks a lot for any advice!



    Dear Lost,

    You have made it this far, so be sure and give yourself credit for how far you’ve come.

    There is no need to panic at this point. Many new grads take six months and even longer to land their first job.

    I would not study for the CNA exam. All your energies now need to go into finishing your studies and preparing for the NCLEX. You would only be sidetracked, and for little gain.

    As a fourth semester nursing student, you are already qualified to work as a CNA or PCT in most hospitals.

    Working as a CNA during nursing school sometimes helps new grads land a job when they graduate because of networking. Often a nurse manager will prefer to hire an internal candidate.


    Best wishes,


    Nurse Beth

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  2. 4 Comments

  3. Visit  WoundcarePhilRN profile page
    #1 1
    Yes, you will gain valuable experience. CNA work is hard and under-appreciated. You will understand what a CNA does all day, also what is expected from them. They are the backbone of any unit. Always be nice to them and help. You will have to earn their respect, it will not be given to you. Go for it, good luck.
  4. Visit  sherri64 profile page
    #2 0
    Absolutely. There are nursing schools nationwide that won't even let students take nursing classes until they have a years experience as a CNA. I've seen the difference it makes where this is required. It is very positive. Much better understanding and work relationships between the CNA's and the nurses. You may just have to study for the exam and take it without taking a class. Depends on the state. But definitely do it. It will make you a better nurse. Good luck to you.
  5. Visit  HouTx profile page
    #3 1
    It's not a good idea for a licensed nurse to "work as" a lesser qualified position. It will put you in an impossible situation because you will still be accountable for clinical practice as outlined by your license... no matter what title your employer gives you. So - what happens if you (working as a CNA) are faced with a situation in which you KNOW your RN or LPN supervisor is making a bad clinical decision? If you go along with it, your license is in jeopardy & if you don't, your job is in jeopardy. Don't go there.

    Many BONs - like mine - have very specific prohibitions against this type of employment.
  6. Visit  sherri64 profile page
    #4 0
    [QUOTE=HouTx;9262716]It's not a good idea for a licensed nurse to "work as" a lesser qualified position. It will put you in an impossible situation because you will still be accountable for clinical practice as outlined by your license... no matter what title your employer gives you. So - what happens if you (working as a CNA) are faced with a situation in which you KNOW your RN or LPN supervisor is making a bad clinical decision? If you go along with it, your license is in jeopardy & if you don't, your job is in jeopardy. Don't go there.

    Many BONs - like mine - have very specific prohibitions against this type of employment.[/QUOTE

    No nurse can work backwards, so to speak, without still being held accountable to their highest level of education/credentials. I believe this person was asking about getting experience prior to getting a license. Working as an aide is invaluable experience for nurses. Weeds out those who don't want to get their hands dirty too!

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