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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.

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hope3456 is a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, Psych, M/S.

1,262 Posts; 20,275 Profile Views

This post makes me thankful for the souls who DO want to be CNAs and support staff. We couldn't do our jobs without them. Unfortunately there usually aren't enough of them - but that is a topic for another thread.

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KJoRN81 has 5 years experience as a ADN, RN.

151 Posts; 7,080 Profile Views

Not to mention, the nurses that were CNAs at one point are probably less likely to be jerks to their CNAs. They know & understand how hard CNAs work. And all the "basic skills" that CNAs learn; those are invaluable & you waste less time (& don't look quite as stupid when struggling to figure out how to change a bed with a patient in it ;)

'The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.'

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47 Posts; 4,162 Profile Views

Not to mention, the nurses that were CNAs at one point are probably less likely to be jerks to their CNAs. They know & understand how hard CNAs work. And all the "basic skills" that CNAs learn; those are invaluable & you waste less time (& don't look quite as stupid when struggling to figure out how to change a bed with a patient in it ;)

'The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.'

Exactly! The same folks who are in here nonchalantly saying " its easy to be a CNA! All they do is wipe butts and change beds!" are probably the same folks who will accidently spill a puddle of tube feed or leak blood in the bed, cover it up, and leave it for the aide to find and clean. The same type who will spend 10 min searching for the aide on the unit to tell them that the pt in the room they JUST walked out of needs water. These are the same upstanding citizens who love to say that "WE" need to make sure Mrs XYZ eats well today yet when her tray comes they won't even attempt to start feeding Mrs XYZ. No they'll come find the aide who's struggling to feed 5 other pts; all the while Mrs XYZs food is getting cold.

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ThePrincessBride has 4 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Med-Surg, NICU.

1 Article; 2,316 Posts; 56,190 Profile Views

I am a PCA and in nursing school.

I highly recommend working as a tech. One, it helps with the Job Search. Nearly all the new grads that I know didn't have much of a problem with getting a job after graduation. I live in a super saturated area so that helps. Two, it gets you more comfortable with dealing with difficult patients and their family members. Three, it looks good on the resume. Four, it helps with interview questions as PCA experience gives you something from which to draw. And finally, it pays. I am graduating debt free thanks to working my butt off as a PCA.

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ThePrincessBride has 4 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Med-Surg, NICU.

1 Article; 2,316 Posts; 56,190 Profile Views

I also want to add that some of the best nurses I have ever worked with started off as PCAs. They didn't have that attitude that they were above dirty work and weren't so quick to dump on their techs. I have even talked to a doctor who was a tech before med school. She stated that she feels everyone should get tech experience in as it gives one perspective and respect for the hard work techs put in.

And to those who think that all CNAs do is wipe butts and clean patients, you are the kind of nurse I would not want to work with. Nurses who feel that way are usually the same nurses who would rather hunt down a tech for the simplest of tasks instead of doing it themselves or act as though they are above basic nursing care. No thanks. There is more to being a tech than that and you would've known better had you worked as one.

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Been there,done that has 33 years experience as a ASN, RN.

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The benefits you would gain.. depends on you.

Some students need the base a CNA experience would provide. Do you feel you need experience with hands on skills and getting the feel for a hospital environment?

Or is income the major player here? I would have liked a CNA background.. many perks to getting the big picture. I needed money to get through school. I worked as a banquet waitress, pocketed $100 bucks a night ... WAAY back in the day.

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

1 Article; 123 Posts; 13,808 Profile Views

'The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.'

I find that beautiful and encouraging, KariCraw31. Where'd you get it?

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mechelleh71 has 7 years experience and specializes in emergency services.

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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.

But your job as a direct care staff is essential the same, so you did, but in a private setting, not hospital, or nursing home.

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95 Posts; 2,727 Profile Views

I am working as a CNA at a nursing home while I complete my pre-reqs for nursing school. I think the experience has made me more acquainted and familiar as to how a medical facility works. You also get hands-on experience doing ADLs which so many nurses are completely incapable of doing it seems (at least where I work).

This is just my own opinion, but if you already are comfortable doing personal cares and basic nursing tasks, it gets you some headway, at least at the beginning. You also learn to interact and communicate with patients. It may help you in comparison to a nursing student with no experience who is awkward with patients and hasn't ever toileted someone before. Even if you decide not to work as a CNA, you can still learn to be a competent nurse. Just realize and respect our CNA roles because many nurses I work with take us for granted and don't really appreciate what we do. The backbone of a facility aren't just the nurses, but the CNAs/techs too.

Good luck!

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NICUmiiki has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU/PICU Flight Nursing.

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I've never been a true CNA, I've always been a nurse tech. I think it aligns me better with the nurses, and it is fully expected that I get to watch/assist with interesting procedures.

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27 Posts; 1,103 Profile Views

I think it's helpful. I want to be an RN, in a hospital... I got a job in a nursing home for 6 months then a better paying one for 6 months, then applied at the hospital and I'm now a PCT. And they are all about helping me with school and I can watch the nurses work. It's like a free preview of what I'm going to learn and what I will be doing. Plus as a PCT I can draw blood and do blood sugars & EKG's. Can't do that in a nursing home.

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NurseGirl525 is a ASN, RN and specializes in ICU.

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It makes me sad that people are so judgemental. I get many of you were CNAs and decided to go on and become nurses but it's like if your not a CNA, you won't be a good nurse? I find that laughable. I am an extremely compassionate and caring person who is going to be a great nurse some day. My clinical instructors say I'm great with the patients. I don't need to be a CNA to know how to treat people whether it is my patient or other staff members. After the first 8 weeks of school, I was on even ground knowledge wise with the CNAs. For everyone of you that says RNs are mean and look down on you, you guys do the exact same thing. I didn't need to become a CNA to become a successful nurse. The very first day of class, our instructors told the CNAs to forget everything they have learned.

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