Quote from Klimpys
Please excuse my ignorance
as I am just now doing prereqs for nursing school. I am also in the midst of a NA II class. What do you mean by "working as a tech?" My plan has been to get on at the local hospital as a NA II and work barely part time while I do nursing school which I wouldn't start until fall 2012. I am also thinking of taking a phlebotomy course this spring. Which would be better to work as? NA II or phlebotomist?
I am a patient care technician. It is basically a CNA with a little extra in hospital training to do things like EKG's DC (discontinue) Foleys and IV's. in the ER you may also be asked to things like irrigate small wounds casting and put stirrey strips on something superficial. It is most likely the same thing as your hospital calls a nursing assistant II. I think the NA II job would be more beneficial IMO.
I Honestly think I learned more working as a tech than I did in clinicals. In clinical you are assigned a nurse who may or may not like teaching, and who may or may not trust you. At work you can seek out the nurses who like to teach. I remember asking one nurse about a chest tube once. She spent the next fifteen minutes explaining the in and out of it to me. I never got anything close to that in clinical.
We unfortunately had a very poor theory instructor. Our class was her first class she ever taught theory to, and we kind of paid the price. In additions to being a tech I did have another advantage and that is that my wife is an RN working on her NP. So I had a live in tutor I could ask questions to at any time.
Working is not for everyone. I had a classmate that was working three 8 hour shifts a week and had to cut back to just two because she was failing. If you do get a job try to get in the flex department. It is a little harder because you never get the same patients, and have to get to know all the differences of each department, but you will also get the broadest view. If you do get a tech job you will also be comfortable working with patients in clinical, and know most of the terminology such as C&S, UA, Bipap, due to void and such.
My biggest advice is stay out of the drama and negativity, and if you are not getting what you need from your instructor seek other sources. For me I left theory at first break the whole second half of the semester because she just read from the book and I could do that at home. So instead I had the book in one hand and my laptop in the other and anything that wasn't clear to me I just goggled. Sources like pubmed and mayo clinic puts things in very understandable terms. It is always good to hear things from a second source, and that is what a good instructor will do but it just wasn't there in my case.
Best of luck