Pre-Nursing hospital jobs?

  1. 1
    OK. I'm a pre-nursing student attending a local community college in California. To gain hospital experience (and make a little money to pay for the enormous debt I'll be in once I go to nursing school), I enrolled in a C.N.A. program at Nightingale Nursing in San Leandro. I graduated the top of my class, however, I had idiotically scheduled my C.N.A. state board exam, TEAS, and NET test within three weeks of eachother. I then broke out in hives from stress! So I figured that the least important of the three tests was my C.N.A. test (since I'm not in dire need of the C.N.A. immediately) and so I cancelled it and will probably reschedule it for the summer (so I have time to study for it).

    I also signed up to be a volunteer in the E.R. at John Muir hospital, which I've been doing for a few months now. However, I ended up quitting my job at an Elementary School in order to pursue a career as a C.N.A. and have no income at the moment (which is starting to prove unfavorable).

    I was hoping someone could tell me of an entry-level, no experience (or little experience) needed job at a hospital to gain hospital experience. I'm really not concerned about the amount of money I'd be making since I'm not in a financial crisis or anything, but I'd really like to get myself comfortable in a hospital position.

    I applied for a few jobs around here (I'm in the California East Bay Area) like techs, nursing assistant (even though I don't have my certification), secretary, etc. but haven't heard back from any of them--probably due to my lack of experience in the medical field. Quite the catch 22.

    Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
    CNA1991 likes this.
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  4. 15 Comments so far...

  5. 5
    i am in my first three weeks employment as a unit secretary in the icu of a local hospital. two weeks from now, i will turn in my application for nursing school, and the long wait will begin. since i have absolutely no medical experience or certifications, it was quite a surprise that the hospital hired me for the job. i am here to tell you, that you can get a job in a hospital with no experience. good luck to you on your job hunt!
    Aongroup1990, lizbee2010, CNA1991, and 2 others like this.
  6. 2
    Hi, I'm a newbie to this site and I must say that it's very helpful! I am kind of in the same boat as you. I was trying like crazy to get a measely interview with the dozen or so hospitals within a few miles of my house. I tried in vain and all I got was rejection post cards, not even a letter...how rude!!! Anyway, it's a tough economy right now and even the private "prestigious" hospital right up the road from me is only hiring RN's and "essential" staff. By the way, I live in Arlington, VA, a suburb of the Nation's Capital....which is ALMOST recession-proof! I was rather disappointed though, when I recently found out that the girl I sat next to in my A&P class was hired at the same hospital and for the same job, no less....she was REPEATING the class! ....not because she got a D or a C, but an F! And she failed it again! What's up with that?! ....I got an A, I'm older and more mature, plus I have a degree! ..........she was a minority with little or no education! I don't know how these things work, you must keep pluggin' along until you find your place. Hang in there!

    I'm trying to find out whether or not one MUST work in a hospital BEFORE they practice nursing. I have heard many nurses say that you get enough training and experience in clinicals and classes during Nursing School. I just want to be sure, that's all.

    Incidentally, you may want to give restaurants a try. I have been a bartender forever and Nursing will be my new version of bartending. Servers and bartenders are able to work at night, have a relatively flexible schedule, they make great money with the right gig and more importantly, you gain a new appreciation for knowledge...i.e. schoolwork! Your priorities change when you are at the mercy of a customer who will pay you with a tip....It FORCES you to treat EVERYONE like they're special....even the ones we despise.........food for thought! Good luck! - Jim
    CNA1991 and bluechick112 like this.
  7. 1
    i, too, am older with a previous degree. after teaching for 22 years, i figured that if a career change was going to happen, i had better get on with it before i need a walker to answer the patient call bells! how in the world does someone make an f in a class??!! you would have to just not show up for lecture or totally skip the tests for that! age really changes one's perspective on study habits. good luck to you on your hospital job hunt.
    Last edit by Emptynstr2 on Feb 19, '09 : Reason: delete
    CNA1991 likes this.
  8. 1
    Thank you both for your replies! I will keep the search going, but so far have been unsuccessful. I've been searching and applying to various positions (unit secretary, tech jobs, patient admissions, transporters, lab runners, etc.) and still no luck. I have 3 years of experience working at an Elementary School where I not only cared for kids but also performed clerical duties like photocopying, excel, and answering phones and such. I also, as I mentioned (I think), completed a CNA course but just don't have the study time for the state board exam to get certified (will do later..). In addition, I volunteer Saturday nights (7-11pm) in a very large hospital's Emergency Room where I transport patients, stock rooms, deliver lab specimen, and change linens. It just seems ridiculous to me that it's proving so hard to find a job in the hospital setting! But thanks for the words of encouragement.

    As for Jim, you definitely DO NOT have to have prior hospital experience for a nursing program. My mom is a Nurse Practitioner/Manager and is of very high standing within the Dept. of Veteran's Affairs hospital and she told me that the CNA is a waste of time and money and that she constantly hires RNs and NPs who have had absolutely no prior experience in a hospital setting. Also, once you get into Nursing School you won't have ANY time for a job anyway since you'll be so busy with clinicals and such. However, I will say this: Nursing Schools value prior hospital experience (esp. as a CNA, LVN, etc.) and many around here actually award points to people who have atleast 6 months paid hospital experience and view it as sort of a "this person knows what the hospital setting is like, so they're going to make it through our nursing program, so we'll accept them" situation. That's one of my main reasons for trying so desperately to get a job in the hospital setting. They also highly value volunteer experience in a hospital...but really it's all just for the admissions process. So if you're already accepted, don't even bother. But it all gives you sort of an edge over others if you do have prior experience.

    Goodluck!
    CNA1991 likes this.
  9. 1
    I work as a patient care volunteer. I help the patient care technician in washing and caring for patients. I go once a week. It doesn't answer your question about how to get a paying hospital job, but doing this kind of work is great experience and great preparation for being a nurse. You get to see patients up close and get used to some of the "gross" things about nursing, so you can decide whether this is something you want to do. I was actually surprised with myself that I was NOT grossed out by the things I thought would bother me--I help with changing poops, and even helped with dressing changes on some very bad wounds. I see patients in all kinds of conditions and always ask questions. If I come across a new term that I haven't heard before, I go home and look it up online. Everything that I learned in A&P and Micro comes together when I see it in the flesh.

    The nurses here are very supportive when I told them that I wanted to become a nurse, and always take the time to explain things to me and answer my questions. They see that I'm there to relieve some of their burden (for example, I'll usually volunteer to go over and speak with some of the more emotionally difficult patients and calm them down) so they're happy to help me.
    bluechick112 likes this.
  10. 1
    caregiving in assisted living. California doesn't require CNA to be hired as caregiver in residential settings.

    HTH...
    CNA1991 likes this.
  11. 0
    I know that California doesn't require the CNA to be a caregiver for in-home care, but the issue is that I need hospital experience in an acute care setting and unfortunately that doesn't qualify.

    Thanks for the input though!
  12. 1
    Quote from jimmy53
    ....I got an A, I'm older and more mature, plus I have a degree! ..........she was a minority with little or no education! I don't know how these things work, you must keep pluggin' along until you find your place. Hang in there!
    - Jim
    So are you insinuating that the reason this girl got the job was because she was a minority? Or that you feel you are more deserving of this job because she is a minority and you are not (taking a wild guess that you aren't one)? I certainly hope not, as nurses have the responsibility to be compassionate and non-discriminatory toward people of all backgrounds.

    Grades and degrees are not the only factors an employer uses to decide who to hire. Experience with doing particular tasks that a job position requires, the interview process itself, and even a warm personality can matter more in some circumstances. Employers even decide that some applicants are "overqualified," meaning that they have more education and skills than what the job position requires, and then reject them. This may have happened to you. I definitely feel your frustration and yes it is hard finding jobs out there in these times. But before automatically assuming that the reason (or one of the reasons) someone got a job over you was because they were a minority, you need to first determine potential reasons why you yourself were not chosen for the job. Sometimes HR or the interviewing staff are willing to talk to rejected applicants about why they were not selected. The best of luck to you in your job search! :-)
    lizbee2010 likes this.
  13. 1
    why would you need hospital experience in an acute care setting, I thought you were looking for a job? Caregiving would give you experience in a health-care with emphasis on social type setting, Assisted living is not the same as home-health care. Its experience with ADL and medications, its a social setting and a nice place to work. The experience you would gain would keep your skills as CNA up while you worked and waited to get the test done, then you could go to a hospital setting with at least some experience under your belt. (incontinent care, ambulation, transfering, cueing, activities, bathing, dressing perhaps medication technician which is an in house certification)
    CNA1991 likes this.


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