I need some help!
I am switching careers. I was in education for 15 years as a teachers assistant and I am just burnt out. Nursing has always been something I have considered and feel passionate about. I have a local community college with a great ADN program but it is very competitive. Riverside Community College also offers a certified Nursing assistant program... I only have 3 prerequisites left to complete for nursing..( aprox 2 semesters worth) BUT, I want to get a hands on experience through the CNA program too, of course, if I am selected. (remaining confident and positive as they say you should) ANYWAYS, is there anyone out there that have taken this path? I want to get out of education ASAP. I have my B.S in Kinesiology and 4 credits/units away from a masters in science education.
I would check into seeing if the nursing program allows you to sit for the state CNA test after the first semester or first class. (However they do it.) I was already a CNA for a couple years before starting the nursing program, but my nursing program allowed you to sit to become certified after the 1st 6 week class was completed. Many schools do this and is a big money saver. Time saver as well. The time taken to complete a CNA program could be used taking a prerequisite.
Look into the accelerated BSN programs. There are programs designed for those with a BS in other fields to transition to a BSN and obtain RN licensure.
I was able to obtain CNA certification by passing the first quarter of my nursing program. I worked as an aide in the hospital and learned an amazing amount of things while I was there, things that helped me a lot when I became an RN there. The nurses took me under their wings and taught me assessment skills and demonstrated other skills so I could watch and learn. In the meantime I was making a decent living as a CNA and it was much easier on me physically than working in long-term care. I would recommend that a nursing student become a CNA first, because if you can handle that job you can handle nursing!
I would finish the 4 credits for the Masters first!
I was able to work as a Nursing Assistant after completing Fundamentals of nursing in my program. I did not even have to become certified. The hospital I work for hired me as a Nursing Assistant just because of my nursing school background. So see if any hospitals around you do that, because that gets rid of the need to do a CNA program all around.
I think that it is a great idea to work as a CNA before being a nurse. It really gives you an idea of what nursing is like and it gives you hands on experience that makes you more comfortable around patients. That said, if getting a CNA certification is going to be something that means you would have to take time off school then just finish the 4 credits first and take a CNA course over the summer. Most CNA calsses I have seen are not very long, though they can be a bit pricey, some places offer on the job training or will pay for the class is you work for them after.
RCC uses the point system and so if you are a CNA when you apply you get points. More points if you have work hours. Below is a link to the pdf of the selection criteria.
It is really a good idea to be a CNA before the program. You can make some money and save up to before you start the program. You may work less during the program so having some spare change won't be a bad idea. I also wouldn't recommend you taking the CNA course with them because it's a 16 week program and that's an entire semester which you could use to do anything else. Find a program that is 4 weeks only. I went to Pacific times in Corona CA and it was 16 days. Monday - thursday. They had weekend classes too.
I think it is a great idea to be a CNA first. But I would say definitely finish your masters if you are only 4 credits away! I would also look into an accelerated BSN program since you already have a degree- it would be a quicker way to become a nurse.
Please work as a CNA before you become a nurse. The best nurses I've ever worked with started out as aides. You will understand what we go through and how hard our part of the job is. Enjoy your nursing journey!
I would say get your EMT if you are going to pay out of pocket. You can pick up CNA after the first semester of nursing fundamentals. In the EMT program, you go over more of pathophysiology, head-to-toe assessments and how to administer meds (medication rights). Heck, you even go over some OB and pediatric stuff.
As others have said, there's really no need to go through a CNA course. Most hospitals will hire nursing students into CNA roles once they have completed their first clinical rotation. I worked as a nurses' aide for a summer in college though I was never actually certified as one.
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