PRE-NURSING CNA - beneficial or harmful - page 2
So, here's the deal. I live in AZ. trying to find and get into a nursing program has become the greatest single challenge of my life. The biggest challenge is trying to get the individual schools to... Read More
May 18, '09Occupation: Nurse Intern From: US ; Joined: Feb '07; Posts: 10; Likes: 12I have just graduated from the ADN program here in Florida. I started working while in the program as a Nurse Intern which actually means I worked as a CNA. I also had prior experience as a CNA in another state. I know that you may not want to do the CNA thing because you are excited to get into the program. But I agree with some of the other posts that it does give you some great hands on experience with patients. You will feel more confident in dealing with patients and not be so anxious in clinicals. I wanted to add one more benefit I found with doing this. That is, when I did graduate, I had a job on my unit that I had been working on while other graduates were still looking for placement. It has also been nice to be able to work in the same environment that I was already used to. It made role transition much easier. Try not to be so daunted by their requirements because they don't make it easy on you when you start and it does not get any easier after you start. They will make you go through all sorts challenges on your time, patience, schedule, and life. Good luck to you and your endeavors.
May 18, '09Joined: Sep '08; Posts: 301; Likes: 428As others have stated: on the plus side is familiarity with equipment, pts, the very hard to learn skill of time management. On the neg side most of the new nurses I have worked with have trouble delegating to CNAs. Thinking I know how to do that when the task should be delegated so the nurse can do that which the CNA can't.
May 18, '09Joined: Aug '08; Posts: 643; Likes: 3771) You said you found one school that will give you a waiver for your prior experience. Go with that school. People end up making this decision anyway - e.g. what happens if one school won't accepts your science credits vs another school that will. What happens to people who already have Bachelor's degrees and one program is willing to give a waiver on freshman level gen ed stuff vs a school that says you must to back and take freshman comp, etc., again. Basically people usually go with the school that is willing to work with them.
2) I think some states will let you challenge the CNA exam. Then you'll have a license and the issue will go away.
May 18, '09Joined: May '09; Posts: 10; Likes: 2Hello,
Well I go to school in Kingman AZ at MCC and they do not require a CNA prior. I will say that back in 2001, when I first decided that I wanted to be a nurse I became a CNA at a LTC. It was the worst job that I have ever had in my life, so bad in fact it turned me off of nursing. I quit after two months and did not attempt to go back to school until 2007. After my first semester in nursing school I applied to the local hospital to be a CNA (I think I blocked how horrible it was the first time around) I was not hired, but my friend was. She has said that it is horrible and she wishes that she would have never taken the position because it makes her not want to be a nurse. So, I guess what I am trying to say is that I believe that becoming a CNA prior to nursing is harmful. I do think that you get experience talking with a patient but that is it. I do not think it prepares you to become a nurse what so ever. Sure, as a nurse you will have to do CNA duties and that is fine. But as far as the jobs being similar and you getting valuable nursing skills from a CNA job, I don't think you will gain anything from it except maybe a bad taste in your mouth.
May 18, '09Occupation: Critical Care RN Specialty: NeuroICU/SICU/MICU ; From: US ; Joined: May '07; Posts: 462; Likes: 307I'm in nursing school in AZ, and I've never heard of the "CNA first" requirement. I've never been licensed as a CNA, and I got right into NAU's BSN program. That's weird.
May 18, '09Specialty: 14 year(s) of experience ; From: US ; Joined: Dec '06; Posts: 4,088; Likes: 8,701CNA's have the opportunity to meet people who can help them find a first job.
If a CNA has a good reputation and plenty of contacts, it can only help.
During the last recession in the 1990's, my classmates who got their first jobs in specialty units (ICU, L&D, etc) when getting any job was tough, generally worked as CNA's or secretaries in the units during nursing school.
May 18, '09Joined: May '09; Posts: 62; Likes: 61Okay, I totally understand how your feeling as I was a Medic in the Army before as well...
The CNA is a whole different experience...like everyone has said dealing with patients...turning them...learning the hospital...networking...job placement after...makes it so worth while....
An advantage of working as a CNA as a civilian you become prepared for the constantly annoying "thats outside of your scope of practice"!! Its frustrating knowing you did numerous IV's, immunizations, blood draws, sutures...then find you can't put a bandaid on!!
The Army did teach me to take every opprutinity to learn...even if this meant watching a few more foley's, straight caths, dressing changes etc.
The most important thing I have learned is the nurse scope of practice...which is still limited compared to the experiene you already have!!
Also the civilian world dressings are different...sometimes not as innovative!!
The rules and regulations are different in the civilian world...if you read other blogs you will find the "customer satisfaction" to be annoying or frustrating as well!!
I would take it...its not that big of a deal its a 3 week program in OK!! They require you have it but do they require you use it??
Its an option to obtain it and not use it but I wouldn't recommend it!! I would take it and learn everything I can from it!!
May 18, '09Joined: Dec '08; Posts: 61; Likes: 44Quote from dwilhelmI don't see how it could be harmful.So, I put it to everyone, does having a CNA really prepare a nursing student for what comes next? Or, does it do more harm than good?
Benefits? Definitely overrated. Only real benefit would be if you wanted a CNA job or finding out that taking care of people isn't for you.
Making beds, wiping butts, washing someone with a washcloth, etc. are things that most people either already know, could figure out if left to improvise, or easily learn with like 0% effort. Besides, you lean these CNA things in the first few weeks of nursing school.
On second thought, I had classmates who actually struggled with these things. So who knows.
May 18, '09Occupation: ACUTE REHAB Specialty: 16 year(s) of experience in acute rehab, med surg, LTC, peds, home c ; From: US ; Joined: Feb '09; Posts: 682; Likes: 672I agree with Pers. It is very helpful to master these basic patient care skills before becoming a nurse. A nurse should understand and be able to do the job of a cna. I worked as a cna for a couple of months before taking my boards after graduating NS and it was the best experience ever. I learned how to do transfers without hurting anybody, how to make an occupied bed, how to change a diaper. All of the stuff you might do a handful of times in NS, I did day in and day out so I ended up getting really good at them. None of it was very medical but a nurse takes care of the whole person, not just there medical needs. I dont think it is necessary to work as a cna but definitely helpful.
May 18, '09Specialty: 19 year(s) of experience ; Joined: Dec '07; Posts: 2,366; Likes: 4,417Have you tried Central AZ College in Coolidge?
May 18, '09From: US ; Joined: Jun '08; Posts: 408; Likes: 181Being a CNA is physicall demanding, but if you're interested in nursing, this will give you the opportunity to OBSERVE, ASK QUESTIONS, and NETWORK. My place of employment also offers training classes that I have taken already, so I'm not just doing ADLs and vitals.
May 18, '09From: US ; Joined: Jun '08; Posts: 408; Likes: 181Quote from 2ndwindThat's a good point. Someone else on this forum mentioned the same thing.One more thing... I'd keep it kind of quiet when you do start your RN that you have experience... some instructors will go out of their way to treat you as if you do not know anything. I have seem some unassuming experienced people hung out to dry in this way.
May 19, '09Joined: Apr '09; Posts: 2I am a student in NAU's BSN program in AZ and it is a competitive program that takes students based on how well they did on the requirements, like GPA of pre-reqs, and it does not bias on if you got your pre-reqs done at that school or not. It does not require the CNA license neither does any other of AZ's state universities or Community colleges that I have seen. The State schools are all competitive and the community colleges are on a 2 year waiting period. NAU currently has satellite nursing campuses in Tucson, Navajo Nation and Yuma. The Yuma site accepts 10 people a semester and so far they have not filled that since no one applies for that campus so they have taken people as long as the minimum requirements were met. So that may be a consideration for you if you are willing to move.
"So, I put it to everyone, does having a CNA really prepare a nursing student for what comes next? Or, does it do more harm than good?"
I did not have any medical experience when entering school and I have not has any problems. Given your experience you should not have any problems. It was slightly harder knowing what to do around a patient at first but I quickly learned that skill. I also know some clinical instructors who did not like the CNA's in my class and others because in the beginning they would just sit there like they already knew everything and not participate in lab activities. We are also taught all the skills a CNA does in the first few weeks. I know many people who were turned off from being a CNA even though a nurse might hardly ever do a CNA's duties. Also at least one community college in AZ does not even teach CNA skills that are not pertinent to a Nurse's duties stating that they do not need to know it because they can delegate to a CNA. This I do not agree with at all.Last edit by breskin2 on May 19, '09 : Reason: Mispellings