Are you working as a CNA during nursing school?


I plan to work as a CNA during the day while taking my prereq classes at night (starting in August) and would like some advice from those of you who are working or have worked as a CNA. I was told by both hospitals in my city that they have specific areas CNA's are allowed to work - most work in med/surg. I'm very interested in ER, which doesn't use CNA's; however, I'm also very interested in hospice and one of the two local hospitals does hire CNA's for their hospice program. Has anyone worked as a CNA in hospice? What types of duties would be required? I really want to work in an area that I feel I would be most suited for, but maybe I need to concentrate now on where I would gain the most experience (such as med/surg). Any advice??:uhoh21:


20 Posts


I just finished my second semester of nursing school, I started as a Nurses's aide in Feb and it has helped SO MUCH!!!!!!! I am on a med/surg floor and I get to see A LOT of different types of patients.

Good luck



219 Posts


Being a CNA on a med/surg floor is one of the best things I did while in nursing school. I started at the end of my first year. It has given me the opportunity to see plenty of assessments, treatments, etc.

My nurses know that I am in school, so they always take the time to explain things to me and call me in on dressings, etc.

I also have been allowed to do some "extra" things since I am in school. My word of advice is remember that while you are a CNA, act within that scope of practice only.



73 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, ER, Mental Health.

Hi there,

I wasn't the original poster, but I appreciate the advice given here. I just finished my first year of nursing school, and I'm going for an interview on Thursday for a nursing assistant's job.



1,062 Posts

Specializes in ICU, psych, corrections. Has 8 years experience.

I wasn't a CNA, but I did get a job as an Apprentice Nurse right after my first semester of nursing school. I was basically a CNA/Tech in the ICU and was paid $12/hour. Then, after my second semester of school, I got moved up to Apprentice Nurse II and my pay went to $16.37/hour....I was able to do everything with the patients, except for IV medication. I did all the assessing, charting, meds (except IV), trach care, foleys, NG, IV starts, etc. It was incredible experience and gave me the opportunity to see whether I would like critical care or not. I begin my new job as a GN next week in the same unit!!

The program my hospital offers is a great way for students to really learn nursing and become comfortable with their skills and the patients. They have Apprentice Nurses everywhere, even the ER. I think they even started having them in the NICU this year. They pay well and the experience you get is invaluable. I was shocked when I learned they were going to not only give me this experience, but compensate me well while doing it! During last summer, in between my 1st and 2nd year of nursing school, I worked full time (three 12-hour shifts) each week. I learned more during that time than I've learned in the 2 years I've been in school (or nearly so). I've been able to pick up wonderful advice and information from experienced nurses and seen mistakes made by the new grads from last year (who have been one of my biggest supporters in the past few months).

Melanie :p


38 Posts

I also have worked as a CNA...have been one for the past five years. I have worked in nursing homes, but will be starting my first position in a hospital in about 3 weeks.

I just finished my first year in nursing school, and I did take my time while doing patient care to practice assessments while working in the nursing home. I can't wait to begin the PCT position because I know I will get a lot more experience. I hate to say, but many of the charge nurses where I work could care less that I am in school, and wanted to observe certain procedures.

I am sorry, but I know nothing about working in a hospice, although I have thought about it in the past.


141 Posts

I just got my CNA about three months ago. Here in Wyoming, your first semester of nursing school qualifies you to apply for your license (without even taking the test..guess they figure you've been tested enough!). I am working at a nursing home, and the experience has been invaluable.

It's my first health care related job ever, and just being around all of it is helpful in itself. I remember at the beginning of the last school year, I was in a near panic over the thought of giving someone a bed I do them all the time. Our nursing home seems more like a medical floor step-down unit than a retirement home, and there are lots and lots of interesting things going on. There's nothing like it for learning time management skills, either :chuckle The nurses I work with know that I am a student and never fail to grab me if there's something cool going on..and to me, watching a foley being put in is cool. Hey..the more times I get to watch it, the better, when it comes to finally having to do one myself.

Just be careful not to pick up those "real world" bad habits. Some of the things I have seen our nurses do would curl the hair of our instructors, should we do the same.

So yeah, I highly recommend it, especially if you are new to health care, like I am. I am actually quite shocked several of my classmates aren't doing it. One of my good friends works at a dollar store for a lousy 6.50 an hour. I make 11.00 an hour, and am at least getting some exposure. Not sure what is holding her back. :rolleyes:

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