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CNA to RN

Nurses   (1,336 Views 35 Comments)
by Mary3010 Mary3010 (Member)

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Is it wiser to start off by becoming a certified nursing assistant before becoming a registered nurse? Maybe it is quicker doing it this way and maybe there are similar duties. 

Edited by Mary3010

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vampiregirl has 7 years experience as a BSN and works as a Hospice.

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I don't know if becoming a CNA first would make the path to RN any "quicker", but for me there were lots of advantages...

I was exposed to a lot of nursing activities and great nurses who loved to help me learn when I was a CNA. My CNA skill set is also very helpful to me as a nurse still to this day. 

Plus, it's a good income often with some flexibility in scheduling while attending nursing school. I know some places even offer tuition reimbursement or assistance. 

Being a CNA is hard work but for me I'm really glad I chose that path.

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1 Like; 1,212 Visitors; 65 Posts

Vampire girl:

What made you decide to become a CNA before an RN? Is it quick to become one? 

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River&MountainRN has 3 years experience.

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27 minutes ago, vampiregirl said:

I don't know if becoming a CNA first would make the path to RN any "quicker", but for me there were lots of advantages...

I was exposed to a lot of nursing activities and great nurses who loved to help me learn when I was a CNA. My CNA skill set is also very helpful to me as a nurse still to this day. 

Plus, it's a good income often with some flexibility in scheduling while attending nursing school. I know some places even offer tuition reimbursement or assistance. 

Being a CNA is hard work but for me I'm really glad I chose that path.

Ditto. While working as a CNA ahead of time kind of soured me to LTC facilities (just because of the attitudes of my fellow CNA coworkers and chronic understaffing), it certainly gave me a leg up when it came to the basic soft skills in nursing (feeling comfortable in a medical environment, interacting with medical personnel and patients, dealing with unfortunate/uncomfortable situations such as residents with dementia and residents passing away) and concrete skills such as transfers, bed baths (you'd be surprised how many in my cohort struggled with a "simple" bed bath), brief changes, etc.

 

The facility was so desperate for help that they were very willing to work with my school schedule in exchange for any time I could give them, especially weekend nights which was my preference.

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River and Mountain RN:

Did working as a CNA help you to understand if you were suited physically/emotionally to nursing? 

Did you need qualifications? 

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River&MountainRN has 3 years experience.

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1 minute ago, Mary3010 said:

River and Mountain RN:

Did working as a CNA help you to understand if you were suited physically/emotionally to nursing? 

Did you need qualifications? 

Most facilities that I've worked at required that you actually have your certification. Mine was a quick month of evening classes/AM clinicals in a SNF, the Red Cross certification testing, and that was it.

 

As far as your first question, it's a good indication of what most SNF/LTC facilities are like. That's about it. If you have the time, use your experiences wisely, and can team up with a helpful nurse, you may get to observe some nursing skills, but usually you are running your tail off with your own tasks. I found it helped with the basic tasks you learn in Fundamentals of Nursing in your first semester, but that's about it. It can either really help you with time management or chew you up and spit you out. You get experience working with "difficult" personalities, whether they are from staff, residents' family members, or the residents themselves.

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77 Likes; 9,194 Visitors; 1,371 Posts

I don't know that it makes the process of becoming an RN any quicker to become a CNA first (as many states allow one to sit the CNA certification exam after the first term or two of nursing school), however it can be a beneficial way to get one's foot in the healthcare door,  make some money, and learn some of the very basic skills associated with nursing care. A few programs are starting to require that prospective students have completed CNA certification at time of admission or offer extra admissions points for having certification (though this is certainly not universal), so becoming one may be beneficial to gaining admission.

Personally, as someone who wasn't 100% certain I wanted to become an RN, I found becoming a CNA a good stepping stone, and valuable informatively on a personal level to my decision making.

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

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3 hours ago, Mary3010 said:

Is it wiser to start off by becoming a certified nursing assistant before becoming a registered nurse? Maybe it is quicker doing it this way and maybe there are similar duties. 

 

A CNA does a very small portion of what an RN does and being a CNA won't help you become an RN faster. I do think there are some benefits to becoming a CNA before becoming a nurse or nursing student, though.

You will learn the basics ...hygiene, vital signs, body mechanics, etc. You'll also learn to be comfortable approaching people in a clinical setting. You'll get some idea of what nursing is about, but it will be far from complete. In tough markets, it could be an opportunity to network and make good impressions on people in the nursing world.

I applied for CNA work in nursing school, but didn't get hired. In hind site, I'm glad. I had an "easier" job that paid more. I also had seniority at that job and they were willing to accommodate my chaotic schedule. I was in an employee's market, so the potential networking wasn't too important. Working as a CNA for me would have meant harder work for less pay with less flexibility.

Edited by Sour Lemon

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SaltineQueen works as a School Nurse.

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I was not a CNA before I went to nursing school.  I think it would have been very beneficial, but obviously not necessary.  

It's not a quicker path to being an RN but it will expose you to a lot of what nursing is about, you'll get a lot of good experience working with different types of people, you may get tuition reimbursement, and it may help you to have your "foot in the door" for when you do graduate nursing school.

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138 Likes; 546 Visitors; 202 Posts

It was extremely beneficial being a CNA before an RN.  It doesn't make the path to becoming an RN any quicker, but knowing the basic nursing skills (bathing, bed making, oral care etc.) in the first semester of nursing school put me a step ahead of my classmates with no experience.  CNA experience also helped me get my first RN job (on the same unit where I worked as a CNA).

Look at CNA certification classes in your area.  Some community colleges offer the class.  In my area, a public K-12 school district offers the training as part of an adult education program.

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RNperdiem has 14 years experience.

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When I was applying to nursing school, my CNA work was not a factor in admissions. They told me this right away. It did not help me become a nurse any faster.

CNA didn't help me land a nursing job either. When I was in nursing school, the manager said that the hospital I was working at as a CNA did not hire new grad nurses. There was no budget or any resources set aside to train new grads. So I got a job somewhere else to work as an RN.

The duties of RN and CNA have some overlap, but the responsibility is a big difference. Working as a babysitter didn't really prepare me to be a parent either.

Now, I am glad I worked as a CNA. It was an ideal student job with reasonable pay, decent working conditions and flexible hours. With per diem status, I could work extra shifts during holidays and cut back my hours during busy periods at nursing school. That CNA job paid all my tuition, books and fees.

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Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a school nurse.

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I was a CNA then a PCT before nursing school. It helped increase my comfort level in clinicals very much. Many of my clinicals were in the hospital I worked so that was helpful as well, i.e. knowing the systems, computer applications etc.

I think everyone should have the experience of a care giving role before they make a commitment to nursing school...

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