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.
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