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Choosing between two jobs to help me in the future


Specializes in Medical cardiology. Has 3 years experience.

Which job?

  1. 1. Which job?

    • 0
      Job 1: #1 dream hospital & unit w/ less chance to practice skills out of clinical
    • 0
      Job 2: Guarenteed experience as PCT/CNA in addition to clinical

Hi, and thanks in advance.

I am a BSN nursing student. I cannot choose between two positions. This is my first job in healthcare. I have a job that pays the bills, so the pay is not a priority right now--these jobs are for networking and/or exerience. I need to decide tonight, as my first interview is tomorrow. I live in an area where you DO NOT get a job as an RN if you haven't previously networked.

Job one-

Title: Support Associate in ICU, 24hr/week

Description: "Provides a friendly, comfortable and supportive environment for the patient during their hospital stay. Provides support services to direct care givers and patients through assuring a clean and ready environment, patient call light response, stocking and environmental support. Duties directly related to patients are provided with direction from RN."


-In THE hospital and on THE unit that I wish to work as an RN someday in my future.

-I will be positioned (networking-wise) for a job as a tech when the next position opens.

-My current clinical hospital w/ a favorite instructor.


-Lesser-skilled position than my current education w/ no likelihood of furthering my skills.

-Another job may not open for a while, and there may be a more senior SA waiting in line.

-Lower pay.

Job two-

Title: Basically, a per diem float CNA/PCT/Student Tech--they all have the same tasks at this hospital.


-I will further learn useful skills.

-The job is guaranteed. HR told me they are short CNAs. I have an interview tomorrow.


-The hospital is closing in the next few years, so networking is a dead end.

-I'm scared they are short CNAs because it sucks there, and as a float I will get the brunt.

-Their description of the job, compared to what HR explained it as is vastly different and disappointing.

-The Job Posting says ICU (which is why I applied), but when I asked, she said it was for floats and there was no way to guarantee I would get ICU.

-I will still have to look for a position at job 1 to get my foot in the door.

So obviously you can tell which one I am more interested in.

The problem here is:

Should I take the less desired, but guaranteed job, just to gain experience? Or hold out and see if they will hire me for a less-clinical position in a highly-desired-for-networking area?

I want the ICU or ED. I want to expand my skills and work along side RNs & techs in these departments. I just have no idea when they will be available to me. I graduate in three semesters, so I'm feeling the squeeze.

Any words of wisdom, experience, thoughts?

Thank you for reading.


Edited by Mrs.D.

Job one!!! I actually think it sounds like a super pleasant position to do while waiting for a tech job to open up. Sure you wont be doing any clinical skills but honestly developing communication skills with patients and problem solving/de-escalating a situation with an upset patient is half the battle in nursing these days. Job two is a dead end! Lower pay in job one, yes, but ultimately way more opportunities down the line.

You do realize that as an unlicensed person, you won't be able to "practice your clinical skills" at any higher level than a CNA anyway? You'll do exactly the same as "a support associate" if you let the nurses know you want to learn.

I think you're selling yourself short if you think that being a "support associate" in the ICU is a dead end or will not give you an opportunity to learn anything or "further (your) skills." If you want to be an ICU nurse someday this is THE opportunity to show your target unit your work ethic, your curiosity, your rapid understanding of concepts, and your ability to take direction from an RN in patient care situations. Having been in your shoes as a student I would JUMP at this.

Mrs.D., BSN

Specializes in Medical cardiology. Has 3 years experience.

Thank you, ladies! It's hard when I have no experience in healthcare to get an idea of what to expect, I don't know anyone in my personal life that is in healthcare, and my husband isn't home to bounce ideas off of.

Sally, you are right that it does sound like a pleasant position. Honestly, I hadn't even noticed. Since I have a family, and I waitress, AND I go to school, adding a job that sounds pleasant, versus a job that I know can't keep employees for whatever reason, is probably the ideal way to go.

Ali, thanks for your comment. I think of job 2 more as the dead end, so to speak, but I know what you're saying. I was thinking that as a tech, I would at least get to continue my skills started in clinical (besides all medication administration). I called my clinical instructor and she said that what I am searching for--the continuation of RN skills can only be had in clinical or an internship/externship under the direct supervision of an RN. You're right in that if I tell them (RNs/CNAs) that I want more responsibility, I can't imagine one person that wouldn't offer it up in any normal job (assuming it's allowed and safe). And hopefully they will be wiling to show me even more. It's an evening position, so things should be a little more relaxed.

Your words, specifically that I should jump at this opportunity that may also turn out to be a pleasant experience, helped me decide to apply right away. The listing only came up today, so I'm hoping that I got it in time.

My biggest hesitancy was that job one wouldn't be "enough" for me. Obviously you ladies know more than I regarding the positions in healthcare, and I am hopeful that job one will be a nice and easy transition in to the intense world of the ICU. Now if I can just get an interview!

Mrs.D., BSN

Specializes in Medical cardiology. Has 3 years experience.

Oh, and I wrote back to job two's HR contact telling her that the float pool really wasn't where I wanted to be right now, and that I thought I would do better for my first experience with a home unit. I said that if she had a non-float position, that I would be happy to come to the interview tomorrow for information on that position.

She just called me to schedule the interview about 30 minutes before I wrote this whole post. It was very clear while on the phone that I was surprised that the posting said ICU but was actually for a float pool. She said she would send a description of the job (which was very different that what she described), and that if I was still interested to let her know and come in for the interview tomorrow. My email back to her was the one saying that I wasn't interested in float, yada, yada...

Lev, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency - CEN. Has 7 years experience.

Many ICUs do not employ CNAs or techs. Nurses practice primary nursing and do everything for their patients. I would take job #1. You will learn a ton. Let the nurses know that you are in school and they will teach you stuff. This is a good "in" especially if you want to work ICU.