CNA before nursing school

Nursing Students CNA/MA


Hi! My names Mary.

I have just recently started thinking about becoming an RN. Before I try to get into nursing school, I thought it would be smart to become a CNA. Has anyone done this? If so any pointers?

VERY fresh to all of this!

Many people may flame me for saying this, but its only a minor benefit. The minor benefit comes from the ability to do well in your first semester of nursing school or securing a tech position in a hospital. The first semester of most ADN programs is mostly CNA duities such as: changing bed pans, chaging linens, and bathing patients. This will be a benefit for many but I don't think working as a nursing assistant is a complete prerequisite to being successful in nursing school. If you can go for Phlebotomy or become a Tech on the hospital floor. Working in a Long-term residential is brutal and exhausting. I know this because I am presently in a CNA class trying to get 5 points to get into a ASN nursing program.

It depends on where you work as a CNA. If you become a CNA and work at a nursing home, or a similar long term care facility, you will not gain much. Duties are basically tons of residents, with a standard day to day routine of meals, changing diapers, bathing, meals, changing diapers, bedtime.

If you can get a position inside of a hospital, you'll learn more. I'm taking my pre-reqs starting this fall, to one day get into an RN program and I decided to get a job as a CNA. I knew immediately that I didn't want to work in a nursing home. I landed a position as a CNA in a large hospital on the MedSurg unit, and was told I'll be floated to emergency room periodically, and eventually to many other floors. In a setting like this, I know I will see much more, and in turn gain much more experience and insight than I would at a nursing home.

So if you decide to go the CNA route, it's a matter of where you work that will offer you more or less experience.

I think it's helpful. As a CNA, the nurses who have CNA experience tend to be better at bedside care. It's probably not going to help you with everything you need to know as a nurse, but definitely will help become comfortable with patients. I've worked with some nurses who gag at everything. I once worked with a nurse who would put on full gown, gloves, and double masked to clean a BM. My sister said the two CNAs in her RN class got hired at the hospital they did clinicals at. No one else did. In an acute environment, the nurses do a lot of patient care, and being a CNA before-hand will help you to work faster and be more comfortable.

I know of at least a dozen colleges (mine included) that require CNA experience/certification as a prereq to get into the nursing program.

I am currently a CNA and am taking prerequisites for nursing school. I am a career-changer, so I wanted to become a CNA to get experience in the nursing field and verify that it was what I truly wanted to do as a career before I made the investment in nursing school. Like others have said, it may not give you a great deal of RN skills (especially in LTC), but it will give you a good idea of what the roles nurses have. It has made me more confident in my decision to return to school for nursing. Becoming comfortable with being in a patient's personal space and dealing with bodily fluids is also a perk-I know now that I won't be gagging when I encounter blood/BM/urine/vomit.

I also am a CNA and taking pre-req courses for nursing. I have found a wealth of experience in my job. I work in a hospital on a Telemetry unit. I have also found that the nurses that were CNA's first are my favorite ones to work with. They do have a better bedside manner and they treat the CNA's with respect. I also did the CNA program to make sure that nursing was what I truly wanted to do and gain some experience. I am an "older" student so I like that I already have my foot in the door at a hospital. I say go for it! :)

Wow! Thank you all! Totally thrilled about this, can't wait to start training and then pre reqs. It's all I can think about :)

Specializes in Med/Surg, Float Pool, MICU, CTICU.

Smart move! When I changed my major to nursing, I got my cna first and worked in LTC for a few months. Then, I accepted a cna position on a med-surg floor before getting into the program. I continued working on my med-surg floor when I got into the program. I had over a year and a few months of experience working in med-surg, then transition to float pool floating to different icus and specialty floors. Now, I will be working as a NT in the MICU and got trained to read EKG. Funny thing is I have done all this before going into my last year of the program. The key thing is you just have to start somewhere. That determination and drive will allow you to accomplish many things :)

I think it is a great idea to become a CNA before and during nursing school! Some schools are making it a requirement to have your CNA before apply to the nursing program. I work on a med-surg floor and all the nurses are so wonderful! The Nurses on my floor know I am in nursing school and they show me everything from inserting a foley catheter to blood transfusions. I 100% recommend it to anyone looking to be a Nurse!

Did you have to take a CNA course or become certified to get the job at the hospital?

I'm currently a CNA , the only benefits I've seen is it teaches you how to deal with difficult patients, and I agree with what the first poster said it helps you get through the first part in nursing school . I work in home health , for me becoming a CNA was not a smart decision because I have a bad back and went into to this profession without knowing that it kills your back (if you work in the hospital it's not too bad ) . I'm currently in phlebotomy class so I can leave the CNA profession because my body cannot keep up with the lifting , I'm fine if it's me and another CNA but if I'm by myself I can't make it , plus the pay is not that great even fast food workers make more than you . So these are things you need to think of , but for me it didn't work out but the one good thing I liked is I learned how to deal with difficult patients and keep a smile on my face and remain professional under pressure . I'm just starting my prerequisites to get into pre nursing .

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