What should I do over summer before I start my program?

  1. So heres my situation:

    Im starting my BSN program in the fall but I'm not sure what to do over summer. I am currently taking Pathophys ahead of time to lighten the workload of my first semester (by ALOT apparently), so its unlikely Ill be taking summer school.

    Which leaves the options of work, volunteer, or kick back and enjoy my last free summer since Im going for accelerated.

    Financially, Im fortunate enough that I dont have to work, but it would definately help (8000$ in the hole atm). Problem is, I have absolutely no documented work experience. So I dont know if I can get a entry level job at a hospital or not. I have read several other threads on getting entry level jobs in hospitals, but most of the ppl have some sort of previous experience or certifications. All I really have is my GPA, my acceptance into the nursing program, and some recommendations from professors.

    Ideally, I would like to work in a hospital where I can get money, some sorta hospital experience, and HC-related work experience. But with my weak resume, I may stand a better chance of getting a job in some random restaurant or store. I wouldnt get hospital experience, but I will get money and some documented work experience.

    The alternative is to volunteer, but my last volunteer experience was so terrible I dont even see the point in that besides getting something "documented". I volunteered in an ICU during high school, but they didnt really let me do anything. All I did for 3 hours was sit by a phone or sometimes open a door. Occassionally I got to deliver stuff to other parts of the hospital, and those were the most exciting parts cause I actually got to move around and think about what I'm doing. After about 9 weeks of that, I stopped cause the boredom was simply insufferable. At the time, I was just trying to get hours for college applications, and wasnt actively trying to soak in hospital experiences. Now that Im actively pursuing nursing, I might have a different appreciation for it, but I doubt I will find the same responsibilities any more interesting now.
    Im attending school in SoCal, and I hear the hiring for new RNs is good, so I dont know if I need additional HC experience to land a job or not upon graduation. But since thats at least 2 years away, things can change and it couldnt hurt to do something to separate myself from my peers. Would it be worth it to volunteer and "maybe" get hospital experience, rather than work at McD and make actual money? Does volunteering even weigh much for employers?

    I know my motives seem shallow and that Im trying to pad my resume, but thats sort of my reality atm. I would be lying if I said financial security was not an important incentive in me picking nursing. Im sorry I didnt pick this profession to save the world, you can admonish me for that if you want. But Ive been keeping up with the news and realized that I have been taken in by the whole "nursing shortage" myth. But I am committed to finishing and if that means I need to put in additional effort to be competitive in the job market, then so be it.

    So any advice or comment would be appreciated. Thanks for your time.
  2. Visit AragornSkywalker profile page

    About AragornSkywalker

    Joined: Jan '09; Posts: 222; Likes: 198
    from US

    10 Comments

  3. by   cjcsoon2bnp
    I would suggest you take a course to become a CNA over the summer so you can get a part time job at a LTC facility or a hospital to get some health care experience. Let me tell you how much it helps being a CNA before you start your clinicals, you get to put things that you see daily into context and when you go to clinical you are more comfortable with patients then students who haven't had any direct patient care experience before. During CNA training you will have to train most likely in a LTC facility but once your done your training you can look for a job in a hospital. I would suggest that if your looking for a hospital job then you let the recruiter know that your a nursing student too and your looking to work for a health care facility that you can start as a CNA and then go on to become an RN and continue to work there. Hospital jobs aren't always easy to find but if you remain persistent and play up the fact that your a nursing student looking for a long term commitment with a hospital that is willing to take a CNA with less experience now who will become an reliable new grad RN in just a few short years. You will find that phrases like "one year experience required" and other such listings are flexible or not even required when they're getting a CNA who is an active nursing student. Plus if you can get into a good place being a CNA for a year or two will help to give you some seniority (which is awesome for a new grad RN to come in with 2 or so years of seniority built in.) Good luck and if you have any questions just be sure to PM me!

    !Chris
  4. by   AragornSkywalker
    You can become a CNA over 1 summer?! Thats crazy...

    Thanks, Ill look into it and see if there are any programs open.
    Last edit by AragornSkywalker on Apr 18, '09
  5. by   ♪♫ in my ♥
    As I near the final semester of my accelerated program, my recommendation would be to kick back and relax and plan to get out of the gate strong.
  6. by   NamasteNurse
    Take a CPR and first aid class. As to CNA, you can usually do that in in 8-12 weeks depending on the program. Then you have to test and find a job, definitely not enough time for that in one summer. My program starts us out learning the CNA skills and taking the test. Find out, yours might do the same.

    Get your books and read ahead! Get a medical terminology book and learn that, it will help tremendously. Don't just kick back all summer, but do take some time off!
  7. by   cjcsoon2bnp
    Quote from New in NY
    Take a CPR and first aid class. As to CNA, you can usually do that in in 8-12 weeks depending on the program. Then you have to test and find a job, definitely not enough time for that in one summer. My program starts us out learning the CNA skills and taking the test. Find out, yours might do the same.

    Get your books and read ahead! Get a medical terminology book and learn that, it will help tremendously. Don't just kick back all summer, but do take some time off!
    I think that it depends on what program your in and what you do. I know for me my program we started in May and I was done and with a job at the end of August. I agree with one of the users who said to check and see if your program has you test to be a CNA in the beginning (if they do then just go that angle) but look to see if you could start a class in the summer and get finished up by the end of August. You can still look for a part time or per diem position during school if you want.

    !Chris
  8. by   cardiacRN2006
    I'd go on vacation. Kick back, relax. Plenty of time for stress later and trust me, you'll regret not having some time to yourself.

    Find yourself a beach and enjoy a tropical drink.
  9. by   Agrippa
    Id relax and volunteer. I know that you said your past experience was bad. But that was when you were just in HS. Now that you will be entering nursing school, you should be able to do more. What I would do is that I would make it 100% clear to the volunteer manager that you will volunteer and work damn hard ONLY IF they will assure you that you will have a chance to do some substantive stuff. Let them know what you are bargaining for EXACTLY.
  10. by   ProgressiveThinking
    do absolutely nothing. I took classes last summer before I started my program, and I wish I went to the beach instead!
  11. by   AragornSkywalker
    Hmm, Im really leaning towards kicking back, catching up on my reading list, working out, having fun and stuff...

    Just gotta find a way to convince my folks, who think that the whole point of life is to be "productive" and frugal...
  12. by   That Guy
    Ok if you are fine on money then dont work. But make sure you have enough in reserves so you dont have to work in school. Not working in school has been amazing and such a stress relief not having to worry about money.

    I did my CNA in 4 weeks

    But go on vacation for a little while. Kick back relax, have a be....root beer or two.

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