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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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No Stars In My Eyes has 43 years experience and specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN.

1 Follower; 2,469 Posts; 43,885 Profile Views

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.

Didn't seem to me that too many posters are down on CNA's. And sure, you had no need of the experience at all; but don't forget, not everyone may have the confidence and ability with people/patients as you do. Some find the exposure very helpful, and enjoy not feeling as afraid as they might if they were to just jump into it as you did.

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KJoRN81 has 5 years experience as a ADN, RN.

151 Posts; 7,072 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?

It's a quote from Picasso :)

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

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IrishIzCPNP is a BSN, MSN, RN, APRN, NP and specializes in Pediatrics, High-Risk L&D, Antepartum, L.

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I'll tell you what...you really couldn't tell who was a CNA and who wasn't when I went for my RN.

I know somebody who has seen CNAs in their program struggle with doing things correctly because they are already used to the "real world" with some things.

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No Stars In My Eyes has 43 years experience and specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN.

1 Follower; 2,469 Posts; 43,885 Profile Views

I'll tell you what...you really couldn't tell who was a CNA and who wasn't when I went for my RN.

I know somebody who has seen CNAs in their program struggle with doing things correctly because they are already used to the "real world" with some things.

Yes, that's right, you do have to unlearn bad habits; but I was thinking more of the socially awkward and inept, for whom immersion in bedside care giving might 'loosen' them up some, after dealing with doing intimate things to and with complete strangers.

Then the challenge of clinicals is more about the procedure(s) being learned and practiced in front of the instructor, without the excrutiating and exquisite embarrassment of having to see their 'first' whatever up close and personal.

Edited by No Stars In My Eyes

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IrishIzCPNP is a BSN, MSN, RN, APRN, NP and specializes in Pediatrics, High-Risk L&D, Antepartum, L.

1,343 Posts; 17,009 Profile Views

Eh...lots of people come in slightly awkward and you get over that pretty quickly. You don't need to take on a job just for that...especially when the bed habits can be an issue, there are other better paying jobs and it really isn't a stepping stone to RN.

If somebody wants to do it...go for it. It just isn't something that is necessary.

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SoaringOwl specializes in Med-Surg and Neuro.

143 Posts; 3,657 Profile Views

An extra bonus is if you are good with your unit nurse manager on the floor you are a CNA on. Automatic in as an RN.

Only if you're good. My former hospital has some very lazy CNA's who lacked work ethic and just assumed they'd be given RN positions upon graduation. They were dumbfounded as to why they were still working as CNA's with their RNs.

The flipside of that is the managers tell the nurses basically to kiss the CNA's butts because there is such a high turnover of CNAs. Then they develop a poor attitude and laziness because the RNs let them get away with it. Then the CNA's can't get RN jobs. It's a funny cycle. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

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I am about to graduate on Dec 9th. Our college just changed the rules this semester that all new nursing students are required to obtain their CNA certification before they can validate for clinicals. It doesn't affect me and at the time, I felt it was not necessary to force that expense on someone just to get into clinicals. I also did not want to work as a CNA because I'm a massage therapist and it would have been a significant loss of wages for me. As a massage therapist, I've been able to work half the time for the same income as my best friend who is working full time while in clinicals. :-(

Now, I feel I wish I would have worked as a CNA even if it was just through the summers because she had such an edge up on me with all the how to's of the basics. I never really knew how to give a bed bath or put a brief on. I had to learn it while in the room working with my patient, while it was second nature for her. Granted, as a massage therapist, I've had 10 years of bedside experience with clients, so I had that nailed down :-).

I would say it's up to you but I'd recommend it. Best wishes to you.

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NurseGirl525 is a ASN, RN and specializes in ICU.

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I didn't state that anyone was down on CNAs. I find it quite the opposite. I find lots of people on here who say, we can tell who was a CNA before becoming a nurse. They are way more compassionate and those who were CNAs know how treat current CNAs. I've seen people go as far as to say that those who weren't CNAs beforehand were terrible nurses who had attitudes with everyone at their jobs because they think they are better than everyone else. I suppose it is the same with everything though. I see people who come on here and say because someone earned their BSN they think they are better than ADNs and that ADNs think they are better than LPNs. It just irks me that people make assumptions about everyone just based on their experience.

My lab partner and clinical partner is a PCT. She is awesome and has been a great help to me throughout this first semester. She has helped me with sterile field, suctioning, trach care, etc. But the fact of the matter is we help each other. There are a few things I have shown her and now we are pretty much on a level field. Her levels of compassion and how treat people are no different than mine just because she is a PCT. I think working with the public in retail for many years gave me my people skills. I just have a problem with this your think you are better than so and so's attitude. We should all be on the same team which is caring and saving people's lives.

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48 Posts; 2,128 Profile Views

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!

I think patient care tech experience in the hospital will be extremely valuable while your in nursing school. I would skip being a CNA in a nursing home since you won't gain as valuable skills as you would in the hospital. Choose a hospital that will teach and allow you to perform phlebotomy and ekg's. Normally, your not taught how to do these two tasks in nursing school. Besides learning how to draw blood, and do ekgs', you'll also learn how to do blood glucose monitoring, take vital signs, measure I/O's, charting, perform basic care skills such as putting a patient on a bedpan, repositioning, dressing assistance, transporting patients on wheelchair or stretcher, and even dealing with codes. Besides performing fundamental nursing tasks, you will also gain these advantages by working as a patient care tech...

1) It's a great way to earn money and learn while you're in school

2) It's a great way to get your foot in the door with a healthcare organization since the job market is tight in some regions

3) It's a great way to build up your resume and references

4) If you float or get pulled to other dept's you can kinda gauge and see what specialty you're interested in or right for you or which 1 you like most and dislike most.

5) Ultimately i think you'll be a more comfortable new grad nurse if you have exposure to working in the hospital as a pct

6) You'll also get to see if nursing is really the career for you. I have some friends that bailed on nursing when they saw what it's really like. It's not for everyone.

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