Bartending or Sterile Processing Tech(Nights)


I am eligible to apply to nursing schools in the next semester. Finally, I have worked so hard to get to this point. I left bartending for Sterile Processing this year.  I had done SPD about 7 years ago on a graveyard shift & I honestly didn't like it. The graveyard shift is very quiet, repetitive, and overall hidden from the rest of the hospital.  I chose to return for the overall experience and thinking I could network. A lot of hospitals offer tuition reimbursement & just the overall experience of communicating with various departments within. After 6 months, I am realizing my feelings haven't changed. My income decreased by half, I am a single mom & I'm struggling to adjust to make this new wage work. I absolutely have to maintain a full-time job. I increased my work hours, and have less sleep than I did before. As well as being unable to move to a different shift. I have been educated by staff, it almost never happens. I have looked around and openings are very sparse in my area. Bartending has done me well in terms of a flexible schedule & lots of money.

Yet, if I return to bartending I am worried I will have a lesser chance of being accepted into schools & it will be looked down upon on applications. I know nursing schools are so competitive. 

Does it really matter? 


I would love to hear what jobs and/or who have supported you through nursing school.  

Taylor13, CNA

79 Posts

Has 6 years experience.

I think it would depend on the school you are at! I know a lot of schools around me prefer students who have worked as CNAs, but it is not necessary to work in the medical field. I looked around at the job descriptions for a sterile processing tech and it looks like it isn't necessarily related to hands-on nursing like a CNA is, so it may not be too important for an application. Bartending can be great for strengthening interpersonal skills, so that honestly could be better depending on how you explain it. Most schools don't ask about current employment unless you are already working as a CNA/MA/LPN, so it should not make you a less qualified candidate. I worked as a CNA ahead of time, so I got a few extra points on my application, but my school gave a few points for any other type of employment that was either non-direct patient care or non-healthcare.

Specializes in Ambulatory Care, Community Health, HIV. Has 7 years experience.

I agree with the response above. For my school, you get 10 extra points if employed in a nursing-adjacent field, like as a CNA or PCT. You get 5 extra points if employed in a medical field somewhere else. And you still get 1 extra point if employed, regardless of where. I would prioritize your mental and physical health, because that is going to matter way more in the long run, especially once you are in a nursing program. Volunteer experience also earns these points. Go back to bartending! Volunteer for the Red Cross once a month for blood drives. This will look great for your application and sounds like it would be a lot less stressful. Good luck!


4 Posts

Wow great advice! I was unaware of a point system. I will have to look into that. I plan to do CNA for experience & something to add onto nursing applications. I plan to definitely volunteer as well.