Need advice..CNA or straight to RN

  1. I found a program that will pay for my CNA certification classes. The problem I'm having is this. I currently work at home from 11pm-8am. I will be taking a class in Jan (starting my pre reqs so I can apply to nursing school in 1/2019) My current schedule is perfect for me and perfect for my family and will allow me time to study and (hopefully) do well in my classes. (I'm only taking 1 class per semester.)
    However the thought of becoming a CNA interests me because it would be great to get my foot in the door now and even see if I enjoy the nursing field. However this would mean shortening my hours at my f/t job (which I would probably do eventually once I start nursing school) and making my a life a little more chaotic now possibly. (I have a husband and 5 kids and 1 car)

    Should I just continue on with my cushy work at home job and do my best in my classes so I can get into nursing school or try my hand at being a cna for a while and switching up a schedule that will be not so comfortable for myself and my family?

    thanks in advance
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  2. Visit shabish profile page

    About shabish, CNA

    Joined: May '15; Posts: 38; Likes: 15

    8 Comments

  3. by   Ty4091
    Hello,
    I am a nursing student. From my experiences, having your CNA will not really make a noticeable difference in prospective acceptance or performance in nursing school, unless the school explicitly requires you to have it (most don't anymore). While their roles are important, the work is repetive and physically straining. The experience gives you an edge for the first couple of weeks of nursing school, when you are learning the basics of personal care, vitals signs, etc., but that's about it. The basic skills are easy to learn. I had prior medical experience going into nursing school with my EMT, and I can honesty say the only major pro was that I already knew how to communicate with patients. It helps during clinicals. At the end of your first clinical semester in nursing school, you will be able to apply for PNA (Professional Nursing Assistant) jobs at hospitals and long term care facilities. So you will have plenty of opportunities to get experience during nursing school if that is what you want. If you just want to see if nursing is right for you, ask to shadow a nurse and spend a day in their shoes observing. The pay for entry-level CNAs is a little above minimum wage around my area ($8-10). This all being said, if this is something that you really want go for it. If your desire to become a CNA seems to personally outweigh the cons, then don't hold back. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors!
  4. by   2bNurseDom 👩🏽 ⚕️, CNA
    I love that I obtained my CNA and now I am applying for the nursing program this coming Fall. I love it because I am happy to be working in the medical field. Good luck to you.
  5. by   Mr_Edwino
    I only got my CNA certification because:
    1. It was free
    2. It is a valuable experience
    3. There are some beginning fundamentals to nursing involved.

    I don't need it in my current BSN program, but I like that I can get a feel for things and get hands on with real patients. The work is terrible, I did clinicals with people that are ignorant regarding protocol regarding PPE and contamination precaution, and overall job is basically like being a restaurant server that wipes butts and changes briefs, and makes no tips. I will not be working as a CNA...ever. I would say if you are a shy person or want to get a feel for nursing, a CNA program will bring you out of your shell. I personally would not repeat the experience.
  6. by   shabish
    Quote from Mr_Edwino
    I only got my CNA certification because:
    1. It was free
    2. It is a valuable experience
    3. There are some beginning fundamentals to nursing involved.

    I don't need it in my current BSN program, but I like that I can get a feel for things and get hands on with real patients. The work is terrible, I did clinicals with people that are ignorant regarding protocol regarding PPE and contamination precaution, and overall job is basically like being a restaurant server that wipes butts and changes briefs, and makes no tips. I will not be working as a CNA...ever. I would say if you are a shy person or want to get a feel for nursing, a CNA program will bring you out of your shell. I personally would not repeat the experience.
    Thanks so much for the response. I decided to do the class. I start Tuesday!
  7. by   Mr_Edwino
    Have fun! You will learn some good skills.
  8. by   heynurse1996
    I have to say being a CNA prior to being a nurse was pretty much the main reason I did so well in clinicals. I got to pass thru my bedside care modules very quickly (checked off the first day of clinicals) and got to focus on nursing skills immediately. Not to mention I was not scared to get in there, touch and speak with my patients and it taught me endurance and work ethic that was invaluable to nursing school.

    I noticed the non-CNA's in my class really struggled the first months (some the whole time) I think it gave me an awesome foundation, and taught me respect for every member of the healthcare team.

    Also it landed me an amazing Nurse Internship while I waited to take my NCLEX!
  9. by   shabish
    Quote from heynurse1996
    I have to say being a CNA prior to being a nurse was pretty much the main reason I did so well in clinicals. I got to pass thru my bedside care modules very quickly (checked off the first day of clinicals) and got to focus on nursing skills immediately. Not to mention I was not scared to get in there, touch and speak with my patients and it taught me endurance and work ethic that was invaluable to nursing school.

    I noticed the non-CNA's in my class really struggled the first months (some the whole time) I think it gave me an awesome foundation, and taught me respect for every member of the healthcare team.

    Also it landed me an amazing Nurse Internship while I waited to take my NCLEX!
    Wow. Thats so good to hear. I thought it would be so hard with my schedule but the classes are manageable and I'm enjoying it.
  10. by   heynurse1996
    The other good thing about working as a CNA in nursing school is whatever hours you are available, there is a shift for that! I worked a double on Saturday and Sunday through almost all of nursing school which left my week free and was strenuous at times but manageable, got me used to those twelve hour shifts that usually turned into fourteens

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