How can one go about becoming a cna while already in nursing school

  1. I'm in my second semester of nursing school and we just started going to the hospitals for clinicals. I'd really like to get a job in the hospital as a cna or pct. But from my understanding to become a cna the programs usually last 3-6 months, which I wouldnt have the time for, considering I'm already a full time nursing student. It also seems those of you who work as a cna while in nursing school became one prior to starting. Most of what a cna does i'm sure I already learned first semester. So I was just wondering what options I would have to becoming ceritified as a cna? and what the process is like? Are there programs that you can take that are tailored to what you already know, meaning instead of doing the whole 3-6 months i can pass out of things I already know?
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    About breeqt

    Joined: Jul '05; Posts: 42; Likes: 3


  3. by   DizzyLizard
    In our area you can sit for the CNA test after you've completed your RN fundamentals class (basics of nursing). Our CNA courses are usually 3 days a week for 4 weeks. Your school should be able to help you. Good luck!
  4. by   srg4784
    In my area where I goto school (SC) you can bypass all the CNA testing/classes after you have taken and passed fundamentals and become an extern.
  5. by   CTstudent
    I heard the same thing. I'm also interested in getting my cna while i'm in school. I have to find out exactly when I can take the test. A RN student can also take the test for LPN after the first year I believe.
  6. by   dolphn545
    Check with the DON at your school. She should have the info you need. In my area, after first level, I could sit for the CNA exam, with transcripts, etc. provided by my school. But each state may have a bit different output on that.
  7. by   lmp518
    Hi BreeQt.....I have been a CNA for 3 years now(Taking the big plunge in to nursing school...I'm 34)I guarentee you did not learn most of what CNA's do in your first semester of nursing..I work with a lot of new RN and LPN graduates that have no clue how to do much of what CNA's do...Our CNA class is only 4 weeks where I work.I think it is going to help me so much through nursing school.I really recommend it.I have learned so mush from the nurses I work with...I also know the Redcross offers a CNA course, that schedule might be better for you with your current workload....
  8. by   Daytonite
    breeqt. . .the CNA registries are maintained by a Nurse Aid Registry in each state of the United States often under the state's Department of Health. Most states have provisions in their CNA laws that allow nursing students to take the CNA certification exam if they have completed the first clinical semester of their licensed nursing program, so it is unlikely that you will have to take a CNA training course. However, you will need to verify that I am telling you the correct information and that you can take the CNA exam in your state by educational exception. You can find links to your state CNA Nurse Aid Registry on this thread on the CNA-Nursing Assistant Forum on allnurses: (Complete List of CNA Registries). Through this thread, you will find a link to your state CNA registry and either be able to get this information on their website or get a contact phone number of the correct place to call to get this information rather than depending on asking around and hoping to find someone with the correct answer. Good luck!

    FYI. . .the CNA registries, in general, govern the CNAs practicing in home health care and long term care (nursing homes) facilities. They don't always cover people who work as nurse techs or whatever the acute hospitals are calling their nursing assistants, although the laws may be different from state to state. The state CNA registries are mandated under federal law and minimally only apply to CNAs for nursing homes and home health care. Often a student nurse can apply to an acute hospital for work as a nurse tech or patient care tech and be hired without needing CNA certification. Again, you still need to look at the laws of your state. You will often find the benefits offered by an acute hospital to be more comprehensive than what is offered by smaller nursing homes and home health agencies. Most acute hospitals will usually offer better tuition reimbursement benefits to their employees. If you are having trouble finding information about your state CNA registry a call to the nurse recruiter of a local hospital or the Director of Nursing at a local nursing home will get you this information quite easily.
  9. by   GoldenFire5
    I sat for the CNA test when I was about 3/4 of the way done with LVN school. The process of sending in my application through the Dept of Health Services took a little while, but I passed the test and then started working through an agency which places me in hospitals.

    It's one of the best decisions I've ever made. I learn something new almost every shift, and I see things that I go home and look up (since I'm studying for the NCLEX). The nurses have been great about showing me things or explaining things when they have time. And it's been helpful to get used to the pace of floor nursing and take a peek into different units where I might want to work.

    Good luck!
  10. by   kukukajoo
    in NH once you complete the first semester, you are automatically eligible to receive your LNA. There is no need to sit for the exam- you just do the application, send in the fee for LNA (35.00 I think), notarize and mail your Criminal record search with another $15.00 and voila you are an LNA.

    I really envy the students who have the LNA/CNA experience as it really has helped them on so many levels in school- they know basic procedures, know the hospital enviromnent and how things are done, etc. I have seen it help my fellow classmates tremendously.
  11. by   cmp715
    breeqt -
    after i was done with my first semester of NS i got hired as a pca/cna at a hospital straight away; i didn't have to have a 'license' per se, just proof that i was in a nursing program. it was as simple as that.
    i would suggest that you just call the hospital you want to work at - HR dept- and ask what their requirements are. chances are you don't have to go to any classes/exams since you're already a student nurse and you already know the basics of pt care (exactly what a pca/cna does).
    good luck!
  12. by   Psqrd
    I would contact the local hospitals, here in Sacramento UC Davis Med center hires nurse externs as nurse's aids, all you need is an application and a letter from your instructor. Good luck
  13. by   kenzy
    When I was in school around about the 2nd semester all we had to do is get a form from the DON stating that we completed the state hours needed to take the CNA test. Save yourself the trouble of calling around speak with them first, they should know.
  14. by   locolorenzo22
    True, but CNA class is often the best way to get to learn the proper way to get people to turn, feed, roll, etc. I work as a nursing assistant/med tech at the local hospital and my job description states "must have a current CNA registry OR have completed 1st semester of nursing program". You do learn a lot of pt care that first semester as your clinicals are primarily LTC. However, nothing can prepare you for your first detox, fight, combative, dying, friendly, Pain pump, etc patients. after the first 1/2 of each variety, you pick up the routine and your tricks pretty quickly. Contact your hospital and remember "A job is just a job. CARE and the hours fly by. GRIPE and they go by as days...."