Quote from moofy
From these boards, I see that a lot of new grads have had trouble finding work as an RN. It sounds like even having a year or two of working experience makes a huge difference to potential employers. I'm currently a student and I'm wondering if I should start working as a CNA now so I'll have a few years of work to put down on my resume by the time I graduate. I know the jobs of RNs and CNAs are very different, but in the eyes of an employer, would a new grad with a few years experience as a CNA put one at a significant advantage over other new grads without any work experience?
In my "past life" as an engineering manager, I can tell you that you NEED some work experience to help you stand out from applicants lacking it. It doesn't even need to be in your job area. A job history (especially if over 1 year long) helps reassure potential employers that you're not a "flake" who can't get along with people. It can also suggest that you would be a responsible/reliable employee, able to hold a job for a good length of time.
It will also give you some good real life experiences which you can put to use when answering interview questions, such as "tell me about a time where you had a conflict with an employer/customer/coworker & how you handled the situation." If you have no work experience, that sort of question can be difficult to answer (especially if it is thrown at you with no advanced warning).
As squee-gee said, working as a CNA gives you both an "in" at a hospital, but it also lets you practice basic patient care skills which will come in handy as a nurse. It also puts you in touch with people who may be aware of job openings at other hospitals. Think job references
- working as a CNA will allow you to "cultivate" (impress, brown nose, whatever) people who might be good job references for you when you start your job search in the future.