Pre-Nursing School Experience: Need Advice Please!

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    I am taking my second semester of pre reqs for the nursing program at my CC this Fall, and I have a delimma. I work full time, but I am planning on quitting my job to go to school full time by the Spring semester. I need to aquire some type of experience, whether it be a paid job or volunteering. The closest CNA course offered is at a campus about 45 mins-1 hr away from me and theres no way I can make that trip every day for 4 months. If I were to try and volunteer at my local hospital, would they even let me since I'm just barely starting and haven't been excepted into the nursing program yet? Idealy, I would find a PT care giver assistant job and they would magically hire me with no experience whatsoever, but that's probably not realistic. I just need some advice please and suggestions on how I can gain some pre-nursing school experience thats PT while I finish my pre reqs. Sorry if this has been posted already! Thanks in advance. :-)

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  2. 17 Comments...

  3. 0
    I don't believe you need to be in nursing school in order to volunteer at your local hospital. I would see what kind of tasks you would be able to perform as a volunteer to make sure you would be getting actual experience instead of doing something not related to patient care like greeting people at the entrance.
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    I agree with Bob's comment. Also, as a volunteer you will not be able to care for patients, but you will get acquainted with the surroundings and meet a lot of personnel. If you always keep up with your volunteer hours, show them you are diligent, and always available to help... they WILL remember that when you finish your degree. It's kind of advertising yourself while you learn some things in the process. Do not look at it as "you are working for them for free"... look at it as your opportunity to shine long enough to be noticed and they will soon want to hire you when you complete your degree.

    Good luck to you!
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    I have to somewhat disagree with the comment above, they are correct that MOST volunteer positions in hospitals just have you delivering flowers and such but there are a few exist that do involve patient care so do your research. I'm not sure where you're located geographically but I live in so cal and am a part of a "clinical internship" for college students wanting to enter healthcare. We spend all of our time on the floor and assist the nurses with whatever they need done. That could mean answering phones or it could be turning pts, bathing pts, feeding pts, and everyones favorite wiping butts! This particular program allows us to be on virtually any floor in the hospital included tele, med/surg, ICU, ER, and Main OR amongst about half a dozen others. It's incredibly rewarding and I have learned A TON, plus the networking has been extremely beneficial. I just wanted to let you know that clinical volunteer positions exist and I hope you can find one near you that is a good fit for you!
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    Students on "clinical interships" are in a different situation than those volunteering at a hospital... and even then, you are not allow to "treat" patients.

    It would be gross negligence from the hospital's part to allow someone who does not have the qualifications to treat patients. What they are allowing you to do looks more like the job of a nurse tech.

    Once you get your RN degree, you will see the world of difference.
  7. 0
    The particular program I am in is considered a "clinical internship" by the company that recruits us but as far as the hospital is concerned we are volunteers. I put "clinical internship" in quotes because in the end we are volunteers and I am pretty sure they call it that just to attract more people. The whole "PFT. I'm not a VOLUNTEER I'm an INTERN." It's true we can't treat patients (that would be absolutely horrifying since we only have about 15 hours lecture and 15 hours clinical training) but we do get a significant amount of patient contact and we do care for the patients. Also I see what nurses do 20 hours a week and I know it is a far cry from CNA work which is mostly what we do as volunteers. I've been in the ICU for about 6 months and I have learned a ridiculous amount about nursing so I don't think it really matters that I don't get to "treat" patients I'm there to work hard and learn and that's what I do! I was just trying to let the OP know there are really good volunteer programs out there where you can get a lot of hands on experience with patients.
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    All true, but not all hospitals would consider that as "experience". If you don't have the credentials behind your name (i.e. LPN, CNA, LVN...), they don't give it weight. At least here in Florida that's how it goes. It's a pain getting started because everyone wants you to have 1 year experience to get hired. I don't know how it's like in California.
  9. 0
    Quote from devyn renee
    I have to somewhat disagree with the comment above, they are correct that MOST volunteer positions in hospitals just have you delivering flowers and such but there are a few exist that do involve patient care so do your research. I'm not sure where you're located geographically but I live in so cal and am a part of a "clinical internship" for college students wanting to enter healthcare. We spend all of our time on the floor and assist the nurses with whatever they need done. That could mean answering phones or it could be turning pts, bathing pts, feeding pts, and everyones favorite wiping butts! This particular program allows us to be on virtually any floor in the hospital included tele, med/surg, ICU, ER, and Main OR amongst about half a dozen others. It's incredibly rewarding and I have learned A TON, plus the networking has been extremely beneficial. I just wanted to let you know that clinical volunteer positions exist and I hope you can find one near you that is a good fit for you!
    Why are you being a cna for free?
  10. 0
    Quote from sali22
    Why are you being a cna for free?
    The people that see it that way are the ones who quit halfway through the training for the program.

    I have been in LTC care facilities before but before volunteering the last time I had been in a hospital was when I was born and they scared the crap out of me. If you can even get into CNA classes down here the only places that seem to be hiring are LTC and that wasn't the experience that I needed. We obviously have significantly less training and therefore significantly less responsibilities in the hospital. We are not assigned to certain floors and given 50 patients, we stay on one floor and assist the nurses. We are never alone and it gives us a lot of time to ask questions and learn instead of just going through the motions. We also are only obligated to complete one four hour shift a week which is very appealing since I am a full time student. I am doing significantly more hours now because I'm not taking any classes, but next semester I can drop down to only four hours a week if I choose.

    Also the hospital I am currently volunteering at is where my CC does their clinicals AND there is a scholarship available where if you volunteer at this particular site you can gain automatic acceptance into one of our local nursing schools and are guaranteed two years of work at the hospital after you graduate. Is that enough reasons for you why I "work for free"?
  11. 0
    Quote from Devon Rex
    All true, but not all hospitals would consider that as "experience". If you don't have the credentials behind your name (i.e. LPN, CNA, LVN...), they don't give it weight. At least here in Florida that's how it goes. It's a pain getting started because everyone wants you to have 1 year experience to get hired. I don't know how it's like in California.
    Since I am also a pre-nursing student and the OP mentioned volunteering I assumed she was look for the same "experience" I am, which may or may not be the same thing you interpreted it as. I thought she was looking for any kind of patient interaction that would help her prepare for nursing school not necessarily land a job since that is somewhat far in the future for both of us. As you said before, I think we are once again comparing apples and oranges.


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