Do you think that nursing students need to work as a CNA or nurse aid while in school?

  1. Do you think it is necessary for nursing students to work as a CNA to gain experience before they graduate? And, (After graduating as an RN and applying to jobs-->) do hospitals look for experience on resumes or mostly at what your grades are? Would they hire someone with a 3.8 GPA over someone with experience as a CNA and a lower GPA? Thoughts?
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    About LindseyPar

    Joined: Jul '18; Posts: 9; Likes: 6
    from MS , US

    24 Comments

  3. by   LovingLife123
    No, you don't have to be one, but it does help. It gives you a chance to show how hard of a worker you are to a particular unit.

    I've never once been asked my gpa.
  4. by   Sour Lemon
    Your local job market is everything for these types of questions. I've seen hard working, well liked CNAs get passed over for new graduate nurse positions. There just weren't enough spots open.
    GPA is a common application question in my area. Where I'm from, it's unheard of for an employer to ask for GPA.
  5. by   VivaLasViejas
    If it were up to me, I'd see to it that every prospective nurse works as a CNA before becoming an LPN or RN. It teaches basic skills that nurses will use throughout their career, and it tends to dissuade them from looking down on the aides. I was a CNA working Med/Surg during nursing school, and when I became an RN I never asked the CNAs to do anything I wouldn't do myself. After all, I knew how hard they worked!
  6. by   AnnieOaklyRN
    Hi,

    I do think nurses should work in the healthcare field, but not necessarily in the role of CNA.


    Annie
  7. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    I'm going into my second semester in nursing school, and I'd highly recommend working as a CNA. It's not necessary, but it's given me a lot of confidence and a whole new set of skills that will make me a better nurse in the long run, IMO. Plus I love my CNA job. It's hard and sweaty and rewarding. My hospital is really supportive of me and my education. Nurses on my floor pull me in to see interesting things, and allow me the opportunity to shadow nurses on other units to see how everything works. I've gotten to perform skills that I haven't in school yet. They are even sending me to a conference on CAUTI reduction. If you can find a good unit and a really supportive manager, it's totally worth it.
  8. by   verene
    I don't think it needs to be required that RNs work as a CNA before or during school, but I do think the experience is valuable. For me it solidified my desire to go to nursing school over other careers I was considering, it helped me feel more confident in nursing school, gave me a solid grasp of health care/hospital culture, and the experience was favorably treated by prospective employers during interviews after graduation, and it's helped in getting my feet under me as a new RN.

    I do think having some healthcare exposure (volunteer or professional, CNA or other role) before/during nursing school is wise.
  9. by   NuGuyNurse2b
    I think it helps with getting a foot in the door, as many new grads get hired into a hospital setting because they worked as CNA's on their respective units. I don't think it necessarily gives them a leg up on the non-CNA competition for jobs - in fact, it might be a turn off for hiring managers as I've known a few CNA's who graduated and were not hired as new grads because the managers knew how awful their work ethics were as CNA's. I've never worked as a CNA prior to becoming a nurse, and I do not look down on CNA's, but I do detect when there are those who simply aren't doing their jobs.; nor do I need to have worked as a CNA in order to appreciate their hard work. If anything, you often see a thread here started by a CNA complaining of how "easy" it is for nurses and how "lazy" they are by not helping CNA's when they are not cognizant of how nurses need to delegate and set priorities that sometimes the CNA are not aware of.
  10. by   gees_rn
    I didn't work as a CNA, or in the medical field at all before becoming a nurse. I was not right out of high-school and working as an aide would have been a steep payout from the full-time job I worked through nursing school. I'm sure that experience is valuable, especially for networking, but it's more than possible to do your duties as a nurse and learn those aide duties along the way. While a lot of it is labor intensive and sometimes unpleasant, it isn't hard to master and is part of the nursing duties also anyway. During interviews I was fortunate enough to have had job experiences (ten + years in a customer service industry) that allowed me to answer all of their "in this situation with a co-worker..." type questions. No one ever asked my GPA, or questioned why I didn't work as a CNA first and I've been offered every position I've interviewed for since graduation.

    I agree with the poster above who said that a lot of landing a job is the job market in which you're applying!
  11. by   cleback
    Necessary, no. Helpful, definitely.

    Depends on your job market. My hospital went for a long time--years-- without hiring any external applicants (although not every na/student nurse was able to be hired). I know this because I was the first external applicant hired in a while and everyone liked to point this out to me.

    I know in nursing school, some of the students without any experience seemed to struggle with the basics. But it also seemed a bit dependent on personality. For some, things just click a bit easier. I'm not one of those people so I'm glad I put in the time as a nursing assistant.
  12. by   TriciaJ
    Quote from ItsThatJenGirl
    I'm going into my second semester in nursing school, and I'd highly recommend working as a CNA. It's not necessary, but it's given me a lot of confidence and a whole new set of skills that will make me a better nurse in the long run, IMO. Plus I love my CNA job. It's hard and sweaty and rewarding. My hospital is really supportive of me and my education. Nurses on my floor pull me in to see interesting things, and allow me the opportunity to shadow nurses on other units to see how everything works. I've gotten to perform skills that I haven't in school yet. They are even sending me to a conference on CAUTI reduction. If you can find a good unit and a really supportive manager, it's totally worth it.
    I'm guessing it's a two-way street. Your attitude shines through and your coworkers want to pave the way for you. I'm glad you've found a supportive environment, but I think you should give yourself credit for earning that support.
  13. by   NurseBlaq
    I don't think I've ever been asked my GPA on an application as a nurse.

    Anywho, being a CNA before being a nurse is highly helpful. As someone else said, I used to get on the job training from other nurses while I was in school. However, it's not mandatory because if I remember correctly, you're basically a CNA the first semester or two of nursing school anyway.

    I became a CNA when I was doing pre-reqs to see if I liked healthcare before I actually started the nursing program. I think people who are on the fence about being nurses should do this because we had a few people in my program quit after completing about 80% of the program because they decided they didn't like nursing.
  14. by   RNperdiem
    Personally, I found the CNA made a perfect student job.
    The hours were flexible, the pay above minimum wage, and it was enough to pay my community college tuition so I could graduate without student loans to pay back. I could work extra during holidays and work around my school schedule.
    It did not help me find a job. The community hospital I worked for didn't hire new grads. When I mentioned working as a nurse after graduation, the manager said that the hospital didn't have the need or resources to hire new grads.
    So I found a new grad nursing job in a different hospital and did just fine.

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