Question about getting that 1st RN job

  1. During school did you work in a healthcare environment as a CNA or something similar?

    Did you volunteer at any of the local healthcare facilities during your studies?

    If you did either of these did you find it helped when you first went to get employment as an RN?

    or


    If you were hiring a new RN would any of the above make a big difference?
  2. Visit DolceVita profile page

    About DolceVita, RN

    Joined: Jun '09; Posts: 1,581; Likes: 1,242
    Registered Nurse; from UK
    Specialty: 6 year(s) of experience in Correctional Nursing

    7 Comments

  3. by   jjstines
    I worked as a nurse extern for a year before I graduated, I didn't do any volunteer work. I don't believe it made a difference. The only benefit I got was to become more comfortable working in a hospital setting. I never really had the opportunity to see or do many nursing skills, but I did lots of nursing assistant tasks for 2/3 the pay. I ended up getting hired at a differant hospital then I externed in.
  4. by   86toronado
    During school did you work in a healthcare environment as a CNA or something similar?
    Yes. I started working as a unit clerk about a year before I even started nursing school, because I wanted to be sure I would like working in a hospital before I started taking classes to be a nurse. After about 9 months as a clerk, I cross trained as a patient care tech, to gain hands on experience with the patients.
    Did you volunteer at any of the local healthcare facilities during your studies?
    No, but if I had been unable to get a paying job in the field, I would have, for the above reasons.
    If you did either of these did you find it helped when you first went to get employment as an RN?
    Yes. The job that I am about to start is one that I definitely would not have gotten without my experience on the floor. It was advertised as needing an RN with neuro experience, however, my 2+ years of PCT/UC experience in neuro made me eligible. In addition, since the nurse manager knew me and my work ethic, she didn't even interview me. I expressed an interest in the job, and a few days later, was told it was mine.
    That said, I can't stress how valuable floor experience is when you are going to nursing school. I really think that schools should make it a requirement, because I can't tell you how many people who started school with me had no experience with taking care of patients. After our first few clinical experiences, they realized it wasn't for them, and dropped out of the program. If it was required to have that experience before starting, those spots in my class could have gone to someone who would have stuck it out. JMHO- hope it helps! :icon_roll
  5. by   DolceVita
    Thanks 86Tornado & jjstines

    I see new grads not being able to get jobs so I want to do anything and everything to help myself before the time comes to look for my first RN job. Of course, who knows what things will be like in 18 months for new grads.

    I should really sign up for a premium membership and do a poll. No time. Off to wipe bottoms at work!
  6. by   PostOpPrincess
    None of those things make a difference.

    If I were hiring, I would get hire the person who is quick to learn, quick to adjust to stressful situations, and flexible in thinking.

    THOSE matter more to me than anything else.

    From what I notice though, it is hard to find those kind of nurses.

    P.S. I worked in retail before I went into nursing school. I had NO experience whatsoever. I also graduated with highest honors--#1 in my class--1992.
  7. by   cherrybreeze
    I don't think volunteering would help, but I don't see how working as a CNA or something similar WOULDN'T help. It gives the new RN real experience in working with patients beyond the school-clinical setting (which isn't realistic, number-wise).

    I worked as a CNA for 5 years before I got my RN, through my last 2 years of high school and all through college. I know that it helped me greatly in terms of time-management, and being comfortable dealing with patients from the caregiver role, and that's something you can only learn by doing it. I would definitely suggest it, I think ANYTHING beyond just schooling could potentially be a benefit when finding that first RN job.

  8. by   cjcsoon2bnp
    Quote from JoPACURN
    None of those things make a difference.

    If I were hiring, I would get hire the person who is quick to learn, quick to adjust to stressful situations, and flexible in thinking.

    THOSE matter more to me than anything else.

    From what I notice though, it is hard to find those kind of nurses.

    P.S. I worked in retail before I went into nursing school. I had NO experience whatsoever. I also graduated with highest honors--#1 in my class--1992.
    I'm sorry but I completely disagree. While all of those factors you listed are crucial in nursing and important for a new hire, the fact that you disregard any experience that a nursing student gets as a CNA/PCT while in nursing school is rather alarming. I'm sorry but yes those things make a difference. Do you have to be a CNA before you graduate nursing school? No but it helps. It makes you more comfortable with patients (especially as a new grad) and more understanding of the work that support staff performs. I'm a nursing student and a CNA and I can work with an RN for one shift and tell if they were a CNA before they became a nurse. Does it mean that RNs who weren't CNAs in nursing school are not understanding or in some way less then RNs who were CNAs during nursing school? Not at all but an RN with experience as a CNA has been there and done the work that a CNA has and so it brings another dimension to their nursing practice.

    I find it a little funny when one nurse sitting at the nurses station tells me that two of their patients need to be put on bedpans, another needs a set of vital signs ASAP and that another patient is ambulating now and needs me with them while another nurse (and former CNA) walks by and tells me that they saw I was busy so they helped put a patient on a bedpan for me so the patient wasn't incontinent. Are both of those nurses good nurses? I would happily have either one of them take care of me as a patient because they are competent and caring nurses. But who would I rather work with? The nurse who was a CNA before they graduated nursing school because they understand where I am now and what it takes to do what I do.

    !Chris
  9. by   86toronado
    Quote from cjcsoon2brn
    I find it a little funny when one nurse sitting at the nurses station tells me that two of their patients need to be put on bedpans, another needs a set of vital signs ASAP and that another patient is ambulating now and needs me with them !Chris
    :yeahthat:

    I just have to say that I worked with that nurse!!
    Actually, not just one of them, but a whole staff of them!

close