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How helpful/important is it to work as a CNA before going to nursing school?

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ReadyToListen has 2 years experience as a CNA, EMT-B.

1 Article; 13,799 Profile Views; 123 Posts

If you worked as a CNA during or before nursing school, what did it add to your learning or work? If you did not do it, what do you feel you would have gained? If you think it is helpful, how long do you think it would take to gain the benefit?

I'm about to get out of high school so I don't really know much (except what I've learned here :) so please explain! Thanks in advance!

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ArtClassRN has 8 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Med Surg.

630 Posts; 10,695 Profile Views

CNA experience is extremely valuable and important. There are many threads discussing it, please do a search.

Good luck!

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RunBabyRN has 2 years experience and specializes in L&D, infusion, urology.

3,677 Posts; 26,796 Profile Views

Agreed. Lots of threads about exactly this. Use the magnifying glass at the top to do a search.

My opinion is that you get used to touching patients intimately, and you get some of the fundamentals of nursing down. This stuff can hold back some people for a long time, which can get in the way of learning "real" nursing stuff (I use quotes because ALL of it is REAL nursing stuff).

I have prior healthcare experience, and yes, I feel it helped me. Really, beyond the first semester, assuming you're comfortable touching patients, you'll be on the same playing field as your classmates.

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1,871 Posts; 22,800 Profile Views

In my opinion, not important. If anything it can lead to increased burn out.

So you can take vitals, change a bed or clean up poo faster than new non-CNA grads, so what?

Talking to patients is just as easy (or hard) as talking to any other person. Besides most of our CNAs when I was PCU just passed off the difficult questions or requests to "let me ask the nurse".

I worked in a sporting good store in college and I do NOT regret passing up on being a CNA.

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

1 Follower; 228 Articles; 27,607 Posts; 317,740 Profile Views

I never worked as a CNA. I worked as a direct care staff member at a group home for developmentally disabled adults when I was 19 and 20 years old. I gave showers, changed briefs, made beds, dressed and fed clients, and completed other CNA tasks.

I don't think I missed out on anything significant by never working as a CNA. It is a physical, backbreaking job that is not for me.

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SoaringOwl specializes in Med-Surg and Neuro.

143 Posts; 3,658 Profile Views

It depends. If you want to work in ER, many ER jobs I applied for wanted CNA experience in an ER. Working as a CNA will help you get a job if you're in a saturated market. I didn't work as a CNA and was able to find a great job 2 1/2 months after graduation, so it didn't hurt me, but I have a BSN from a well-respected university in the region. That's another factor to consider, if you're only ADN, you may need the leg-up a CNA job can get you. I wouldn't work as a CNA outside of a hospital, though. Hospitals aren't impressed by LTC or SNF CNA experience.

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Farawyn has 25 years experience and specializes in A little bit of everything..

2 Followers; 12,645 Posts; 97,893 Profile Views

I wish I did. Or even a US. Anything to get the flow of the hospital routine.

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applewhitern has 30 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

1,871 Posts; 25,527 Profile Views

I never worked in the healthcare field in any capacity until I graduated from nursing school. As a matter of fact, my nursing school greatly discouraged us from working during the first semester of actual nursing classes. I was an accountant and did payroll, taxes, etc., for a plumbing/electrical company! Never had even been in a hospital except to have a baby.

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188 Posts; 2,211 Profile Views

It helped so much plus it helps you get you a job afterwards. I was a CNA, PCT, psych tech. Then during school I earned my LPN.

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269 Posts; 7,498 Profile Views

imho it's not helpful, unless you're working at a place where you KNOW you will be able to get an RN job offer there upon graduation. CNA at a company that is notoriously difficult to get into and everyone wants in and they like to hire /promote internal candidates? helpful. CNA at a random nursing home, not really.

i bartended in a club and a high end restaurant and taught music lessons during nursing school, and made on average about 3-4 times more $ per hour than CNA wages. Work smarter not harder.

Edited by ceccia

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Lennonninja has 8 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in MICU - CCRN, Interventional Radiology.

997 Posts; 16,364 Profile Views

I found it very helpful. Being a tech at the hospital directly led to being offered a new grad job months before graduation. It also helped with time management, prioritization, and several learning opportunities. However, I'd recommend working on a part time/PRN basis. I worked 1 shift a week, and that was about all I could manage with nursing school full time. Don't get yourself burned out!

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SmilingBluEyes has 20 years experience.

2 Followers; 19,581 Posts; 65,432 Profile Views

SOME nursing programs require it. It is valuable experience. Check and see if it's required; if so, you may as well start there.

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