Anyone have a NON healthcare job while in nursing school?

  1. :uhoh21:

    Just wondering if there are any out there that went thru nursing school and DID NOT hold down a healthcare job? Currently I work FT in medical claims (no clinical stuff) and will drop to PT to attend nursing school. I make more money in this job than I ever would in any other entry level clinical healthcare job. Right now the advantage is not having to learn a new job while adjusting to the demands of nursing school (school starts July). To me, that is a big plus! I think quitting now and having the stress of a new job on top of school starting would be hard!


    If you had/have a job outside of direct patient care, how do you think it affected you? Pros and cons. Will I still be able to suceed in nursing school without a direct patient care position?

    I am thinking I will hang with my job now until 2nd semester or so and then try for direct patient care when I can make over $10 an hour (maybe!):stone and when I feel more confident to "jump in" to that arena. What do you think?

    THANKS!!
    •  
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    About Curious1alwys, BSN, RN

    Joined: May '04; Posts: 1,242; Likes: 287

    22 Comments

  3. by   Achavis2
    When I registered and started nursing school the first time 2 years ago, I was working as a PCT at a dialysis unit. My husband and I found out that we were going to have a baby shortly there after so all of it came to a hault. I stayed on full time at the unit until I had our son. I did not return because I did not feel comfortable putting him in daycare. I am back in school now (just started pre reqs) because our son is 16 months old now and we feel a little better putting him in daycare.

    Long story short, I was at home with him for about 15 months.... At about the 8 month mark I was ready to do something... I knew daycare was not something I wanted then so I knew it had to be very part part part time. My husband works 12 to 12 at a plant and gets drafted constantly, so I knew finding something would be hard. I just wanted some "me" time and a little extra cash, but enough money to make it worth my while to actually leave him. I decided to bartend two nights a week. I did not know anything about it but I had tie ins to a small bar/grill and they taught me. I work Tues. and Fri. from like 9 to 2 and make more than I was making working fulltime as a PCT at the Dialysis unit.

    I can't say for sure what it would be like to work a real part time job and go to school fulltime because I did not do it, although that was what I was going to do 2 years ago....work at the diaysis unit for first shift mon-fri. from 430am to 8 or 830 depending on how quick we got pts hooked up and then go to school all day. I am sure it would have been really hard. Its hard now too because I go to school all day, have responsibilities to my husband and son, and work a couple nights a week..but where there is a will there's a way.
    There will be pros and cons to whatever you decide to do, nursing school is tough and learning to balance everything else with it is even tougher. I would recommend getting started in school and seeing exactly what it will endure for you and how well you can handle it and then adjust your work schedule accordingly, but if working even part time is too much and you need to make a good ammount in less than part time hours, bartending has worked for me. If its getting out of the med. field while you are in school that you are worried about..I wouldn't. Once you get into your clinicals you will have plenty of practice so you shouldn't get "rusty", and RNs are needed so having worked in the medical field isn't going to be your shoein (at least in VA they are needed badly... Here all you need is the completed school and the license to find a job as a nurse)

    Anyways, finances and jobs and family have been my biggest struggle through it this far, and unless you are fortunate enough to be able to do it before you have family, and bills, and responsibilities, well it just makes it a little more difficult. Good luck through school and with whatever you decide!

    p.s. There is the benefit of some healthcare places helping you through nursing school while you work there. (That was an option for me as a CNA through a nursing home about 3 years ago.)
  4. by   melpip3
    Quote from thrashej
    :uhoh21:

    Just wondering if there are any out there that went thru nursing school and DID NOT hold down a healthcare job? Currently I work FT in medical claims (no clinical stuff) and will drop to PT to attend nursing school. I make more money in this job than I ever would in any other entry level clinical healthcare job. Right now the advantage is not having to learn a new job while adjusting to the demands of nursing school (school starts July). To me, that is a big plus! I think quitting now and having the stress of a new job on top of school starting would be hard!


    If you had/have a job outside of direct patient care, how do you think it affected you? Pros and cons. Will I still be able to suceed in nursing school without a direct patient care position?

    I am thinking I will hang with my job now until 2nd semester or so and then try for direct patient care when I can make over $10 an hour (maybe!):stone and when I feel more confident to "jump in" to that arena. What do you think?

    THANKS!!
    I am a current nursing student. I will be completing my pre reqs during summer and hope to apply asap for the adn program at my local CC. There is a waiting list. I am currently employed pt at a school working with at risk children. I enjoy my job. It pays well. I have been thinking about leaving to gain experience as a CNA . I too am unsure about leaving my current comfortable position. I'm a mom of three and working toward my nursing goals. I think my biggest concern is I might take a job in the healthcare industry and loose sight of my schooling since I know I'll be waiting for acceptance. I would like to have the hands on experience and I'm sure when the right opportunity comes around I'll take it. I would also like to know what others have to say.
  5. by   TiffyRN
    I worked 3 yrs at good 'ole McD's while going through pre-req's and nursing school. It was on the "strip" on Panama City Beach so I gained extensive knowledge on dealing with intoxicated/high people which can be useful in nursing. I think I would have been better served with a patient contact job but at the time the hospitals only offered those standard 7-3, 3-11 & 11-7 shifts. Those would have been difficult for me during school. McDonald's had far more flexible shifts though I couldn't recommend it for anything else.
  6. by   palesarah
    I worked full time, then part-time for an insurance company processing homeowner's insurance applications, while I was in school. It was terribly mind-numbing, but I had very flexible hours and the pay was excellent. It got me through. I wish I had worked as a nurse's aide or unit secretary while I was in school but at the time I felt we couldn't afford the pay cut. And in the end, I got the nursing job I wanted, so all's well that end's well.
  7. by   Jessy_RN
    Quote from thrashej
    :uhoh21:

    Just wondering if there are any out there that went thru nursing school and DID NOT hold down a healthcare job? Currently I work FT in medical claims (no clinical stuff) and will drop to PT to attend nursing school. I make more money in this job than I ever would in any other entry level clinical healthcare job. Right now the advantage is not having to learn a new job while adjusting to the demands of nursing school (school starts July). To me, that is a big plus! I think quitting now and having the stress of a new job on top of school starting would be hard!


    If you had/have a job outside of direct patient care, how do you think it affected you? Pros and cons. Will I still be able to suceed in nursing school without a direct patient care position?

    I am thinking I will hang with my job now until 2nd semester or so and then try for direct patient care when I can make over $10 an hour (maybe!):stone and when I feel more confident to "jump in" to that arena. What do you think?

    THANKS!!
    Hello,

    I am currently a full-time nursing student, married and have 2 part-time jobs and another where I volunteer at. The first is at my local grocery store at the deli department and the other as an administrative assistant for a construction company. I am also a volunteer as an office aid at my local humane society. The pay well for both is just minimum wage. I barely make enough to pay a few bills and books for school. Everything else goes on my student loans, which I will start paying off after I graduate. My husband takes care of the rest of the bills.

    I do not mind working outside of the healthcare field while in nursing school, because in my mind I know it is temporary unitl I finish my education and fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse. It is well-worth the sacrifice. Although you gain valuable experience while working in the healthcare field and attending school, it is not a possibility for me. I have no experience as a CNA, and cannot leave my jobs to go to CNA classes, or anything related. I used to work as a Pharmacy Tech, but the pay was also low with the added inconvinience of not having the flexibility or liberty to work around or modify my schedule, so it had to go.

    I think that if not working while attending nursing school is not an option, then you have to do the next best thing to accomodate your priority (School) into your job(s), in whichever field they may be. At least that is all I can do for myself and accept that it is the only route I can go for now.

    PROS: Fits my School schedule work during the day, School at night.
    Able to work 40 hours and full-time student.

    CONS: Missing out on the healthcare related experience.
  8. by   PMHNP10
    Quote from thrashej
    :uhoh21:

    Just wondering if there are any out there that went thru nursing school and DID NOT hold down a healthcare job? Currently I work FT in medical claims (no clinical stuff) and will drop to PT to attend nursing school. I make more money in this job than I ever would in any other entry level clinical healthcare job. Right now the advantage is not having to learn a new job while adjusting to the demands of nursing school (school starts July). To me, that is a big plus! I think quitting now and having the stress of a new job on top of school starting would be hard!


    If you had/have a job outside of direct patient care, how do you think it affected you? Pros and cons. Will I still be able to suceed in nursing school without a direct patient care position?

    I am thinking I will hang with my job now until 2nd semester or so and then try for direct patient care when I can make over $10 an hour (maybe!):stone and when I feel more confident to "jump in" to that arena. What do you think?

    THANKS!!
    While working towards my ADN I worked for a former organic chem professor (from when I earned my bachelor degree) as a research assistant for cancer vascular targeting agents. I think I barely made minimum wage, so money wasn't the factor. The reason I worked there was because I got access to the university's student life center which allowed me to play racquetball, table tennis and weight train. Plus I got to eat in the student cafeterias for a very reduced price, and the food was plentiful and often delicious; I needed the access to the exercise facilities to counteract the abundance of food.
  9. by   Spacklehead
    During my four years of nursing school, I was a valet car parker/event parking coordinator and a veterinary assistant. I honestly had no desire to work in healthcare (human-related) until I graduated college (since I would be doing it for the rest of my life). You will do absolutely fine in nursing school without actually having an outside job in a healthcare field.

    The pros of this were making more money than I would have as a nursing assistant at the time and getting to travel across the country during the summer with the car parking company. I also loved working with animals, so being a vet tech fulfilled that need for me.

    The cons were that I probably appeared a little less confident dealing with human patients than my peers who were CNA's or nurse externs. However, I still did fine during clinicals. I wouldn't worry about it one bit and do what's best for you.
    Last edit by Spacklehead on May 3, '05
  10. by   mercyteapot
    I had a work study job as a lifeguard at the campus pool. It was great b/c you had an hour on, hour off, but you got paid for that hour you were just sitting in the office (ready to jump in and assist, or handle whatever other business might come up so that whoever was in the chair could devote their full attention to the pool).
  11. by   BeccaRN
    I was a legal secretary when I went to nursing school. After getting my RN I went to work full time at a local hospital and had a baby. After having the baby I went back to work as a legal secretary because of the hours and work per diem as an RN. I am now looking at going back to nursing full time since the baby is going to kindergarden this year.
  12. by   meownsmile
    I had worked for 12 years in a photo processing lab prior to going to LPN school. I didnt work as a CNA while i was in school. I was lucky enough that time to be able to tighten the belt and our family got by on what my husbands job offered. I had my school paid for by a state retraining program after the plant i worked closed. Thank god for that or i would probly still be there even though i had been thinking about going to school prior to the plant closing. I took the closing as a sign that that is what i was ment to do.
    I continued and am now a RN, love it. I have my days but i wouldnt go back or trade what i have now.
    Not working in patient care while in school wont hurt you a bit. It didnt hinder my opportunity after graduation, in fact one of the facilities we did clinicals offered me a job before i even graduated. Actions speak louder than words sometimes, so do your absolute best in clinicals, be a stand out and you will be noticed.
  13. by   jeepgirl
    I did work as a NA while in school. Personally, I feel that it helped me. And the money was excellant... in our area PRN techs make pretty good money... and I worked night shift. I usually worked just saturday night.

    At the same time, however, I worked for a youth center in the evenings during the week. I feel that I got the best experience from that since my field is Peds.
  14. by   pengwen
    Quote from thrashej
    :uhoh21:

    Just wondering if there are any out there that went thru nursing school and DID NOT hold down a healthcare job? Currently I work FT in medical claims (no clinical stuff) and will drop to PT to attend nursing school. I make more money in this job than I ever would in any other entry level clinical healthcare job. Right now the advantage is not having to learn a new job while adjusting to the demands of nursing school (school starts July). To me, that is a big plus! I think quitting now and having the stress of a new job on top of school starting would be hard!


    If you had/have a job outside of direct patient care, how do you think it affected you? Pros and cons. Will I still be able to suceed in nursing school without a direct patient care position?

    I am thinking I will hang with my job now until 2nd semester or so and then try for direct patient care when I can make over $10 an hour (maybe!):stone and when I feel more confident to "jump in" to that arena. What do you think?

    THANKS!!
    I worked as a CNA and LPN through nursing school and did fine. I really think both of these jobs helped me process the clinical aspects of being a nurse. Book work is great and needed but there is so much that can't be taught in the classroom that you HAVE to learn on the floor. Additionally I think there is not enough clinical time in nursing school to really learn everything you need to learn to be a nurse.

    In my class of 60 nursing students there were 4 people that didn't pass their boards. 2 of the 4 were the top students in our class and it was very surprising that they didn't pass their boards. When I talked to all 4 of these women they all did not have experience on the floor as a CNA or LPN before taking the RN boards. After finding out they failed all of them got jobs as CNA's on a Med/Surg floor before taking the boards again (I know 3 of them had to take pay cuts for this experience).

    So my thought is - even though it might be stressful to switch jobs right now, in the long run it would probably be better for you to gain the experience and clinical knowledge, only working on a hospital floor can bring.

    Good luck with all of your decisions and nursing school. It is worth it in the end!!!

    Gwen RN, BSN, CRNI
    Last edit by pengwen on May 3, '05

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