Do CNA's Make better RN's? HELP!!

  1. HELP!! My girlfriend is badgering me to get my CNA before going to Nursing School for my RN. (I start in the fall of 2007 @ OJC La Junta) She was a CNA and is an OT now and she believes that Nurses who have NOT been CNA's are probably not as good at their jobs, or may be less Empathetic to CNA's that work under them. She feels that RN's who havent been CNA's dont get the same respect from their peers or from their staff. I dont know what to believe. I believe it depends on the individual. I mean, if you are going to be a mean spirited, unsympathetic jerk of an RN you are going to be one wheter you have your CNA or not. :trout: I need the forums help.
    Should I take time out of a hectic schedule next semester to take the 5 units; become a CNA and almost NEVER really work in the field.(maybe for 2 months in the summer)..or should I just go straight into Nursing school without it.
    I dont believe it would be a waste of time and money but would it be overkill?
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   tntech1
    It would not hurt. I could possibly make you more comfortable and familiar with some of your nursing skills.:spin:
  4. by   sunnyjohn
    Quote from jdarcy
    I mean, if you are going to be a mean spirited, unsympathetic jerk of an RN you are going to be one wheter you have your CNA or not. :trout:
    I agree with the bold part. A jerk is a jerk is a jerk, CNA or no.

    I think she may feel that the CNA may give you extra insight.

    Some people think the CNA experience is invaluable. I think those that have worked for a year or so before as a CNA do have an advantage in those early clinical days.

    Still your first couple of clinical days is all CNA stuff. They will teach you what you need to know.
  5. by   Spidey's mom
    I agree with you - a jerk or lazy person will be a jerk or lazy person regardless of being a CNA too.

    My mentor told me NOT to take the CNA class and enjoy my summer off with my kids and dh prior to starting nursing school because school would be all encompassing. Plus, I would learn all the CNA stuff at the beginning of nursing school.

    I've personally known nurses who were CNA's and LVN's and some won't answer a call bell, won't help someone onto a bedpan, won't help someone up off the bedside commode, refuse to make a bed, etc. Others who have been CNA's are great team members.

    My philosophy is to be a hardworking member of a team and I appreciate all the hard work the CNA's do and I help out. While they are showering the patients, I make the bed. If they are busy with another patient and I have a patient waiting to be discharged, I take the patient out in a wheelchair.

    The only thing that matters in this situation is what kind of person you are. Will you be appreciative of your team members and help out if you can? Then don't worry about the CNA class. Concentrate on your full plate - don't add stuff that isn't necessary.

    Having said that - if you really want to be a CNA and are already a wonderful person, go for it.

    steph
  6. by   slou!
    I posted something like this about a month ago, and generally the answer was yes, go for it! Not saying that people are aren't CNAs are BAD nurses and not saying they are better, but I just got a lot of answers saying that since you will be above a CNA (not like above them, but job wise. sorry i'm having trouble finding a word for this here that won't offend anyone but I don't mean that nurses are ABOVE them but aren't they in charge of them job wise?) then it would be wise to be a CNA. I am only a freshman and I'm about to end my first semester in 2 weeks, so I'm thinking maybe next year when I have a car on campus I'm going to do it!
  7. by   RNfromMN
    My school requires that you be certified as a nursing assistant before you're even allowed to apply for the RN program...I am SO GRATFUL for that! It works out wonderfully, too, because while they don't require you to actually work in the field, most people end up doing it because they have that 2 year wait list to sit on. At least that's why I ended up being a CNA. And, like I said, I'm so gratful for that...as much as I detest the people I go to school with (yeah, that's a whole separate issue), not one of them can say they've never changed someone's pants, or helped feed someone, etc. Not only that, but the nurses (& the CNAs, which you rely on SO MUCH as a student nurse) at clinical have so much more confidence in you once they've found out you've already gotten your hands dirty. And it gives me more confidence as a jittery, timid student nurse at clinical when I find out that the big, bad, intimidating nurse I have to work with has only been in healthcare half the time I've been.

    The fact that I've worked as a CNA will enable me to have better working relationships (I hope) with CNAs in the future (I hope they'll respect me a little more) as I become a nurse and appreciate their hard work
  8. by   EricJRN
    I think one of the neat things about nursing is that we all bring different things to the table. If you're busy doing other things that will also prepare you for school, I wouldn't feel like you had to cram in CNA certification.

    I love my grandfather's old expression: 'There's more than one way to skin a cat.' What worked for your girlfriend and what works for you may be two different things.
  9. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from EricEnfermero

    I love my grandfather's old expression: 'There's more than one way to skin a cat.' What worked for your girlfriend and what works for you may be two different things.



    steph
  10. by   Tweety
    If it would be a hardship to get your CNA don't do it. If you've nothing going on and will work for a while as a CNA it will definately get you a head start, and will definately get you appreciating the CNA's you're going to be working with.

    However, I disagree with the presumption that it will make you a better RN in the long run. 10 years from now is that one who was a CNA for a few months prior to nursing school still a better RN?

    I learned to be a CNA the first semester of RN school (among other things) and my last six months of nursing school I worked as a CNA and loved it (I had to work full time, so working as a CNA paid the bills and got me experience.)

    It won't hurt, but it's not necessary.

    Good luck!
  11. by   lisabeth
    I dont think it is a necessity, but I am going to take a CNA class in January and I cant wait. Where I live, it is extremely hard to find a job without some kind of certification. I am definitly wanting something in health care, so I think it will be the way for me to go. I have already signed up and paid for it, but I dont really expect it to make me a better nurse. Maybe it will help me in my first few months of lvn school.
  12. by   RN BSN 2009
    In my opinion, for the students in my clinical group who were CNA's before had an easier time during first clinical rotation
  13. by   jdfar
    Don't do it. You will learn it in nursing school. Being a CNA is not like being a nurse. I actually think there are disadvantages to doing it. This was the advice given to me by a nursing instructor before I started nursing school. I have a great relationship with patients and all team members I work with and I wasn't a CNA first. I have plenty of empathy for CNA's and the work they do, and help them out in any way I can- as they usually do for me. You have alot on your plate allready. Good luck in nursing school.
    RN for 16 years.
  14. by   catzy5
    Quote from EricEnfermero
    I think one of the neat things about nursing is that we all bring different things to the table. If you're busy doing other things that will also prepare you for school, I wouldn't feel like you had to cram in CNA certification.

    I love my grandfather's old expression: 'There's more than one way to skin a cat.' What worked for your girlfriend and what works for you may be two different things.

    I agree with this 100% I would love to get my CNA however its only offered here during one semester and I would have to put off my pre reqs to do it so its not an option now, but boy would I love to work PRN as a CNA while waiting to get into school and now but its just not meant to be. I used to work as an Administrative Assistant in the ICU of a pretty good sized hospital, I will certainly have empathy for all workers that I work with everyone that does their job well is a benifit to the whole hospital, its like that anywhere!

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