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Non-CNA Jobs You Can Work While You're a Student

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Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

Getting a foot in the door of a healthcare facility is immensely important in this competitive day and age, and some students want to get an early start. However, not every nursing student wants to work as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). The purpose of this article is to discuss other healthcare-related jobs that nursing students can work.

Non-CNA Jobs You Can Work While You're a Student

You are studying to become a nurse and would like to be working for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you would prefer to graduate from nursing school completely free of debt, or at the very least, you wish to minimize any student loan debt you might accrue during your years as a nursing student. Maybe your household really depends on your income, and therefore, you've got to work.

Perhaps you are looking for a job because you're attempting to get a foot in the door of a hospital, nursing home, or some other type of healthcare facility to amass some experience. This is actually a great idea because, if you make a good impression, you might be able to secure a licensed nursing position at the same workplace after you graduate from the school of nursing that you attend.

In this ultra-competitive job market, you might have a strong advantage over other new grads if you are already an internal employee at a place that hires nurses.

Masses of people will recommend that you earn a certified nursing assistant (CNA) state certification and work as a CNA while completing school. While it is true that CNAs accrue excellent healthcare experience that cannot be replicated, not everyone wants to spend the time, energy, or money to pursue the certification.

Other employment options in the healthcare field exist that do not require certification. In addition, these positions offer learning experiences if you look hard enough.

Dietary Aide

You will be working in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the kitchen during meal preparation times. You will also learn how to assemble meal trays as appropriate for the different diets that doctors commonly prescribe to patients (1800 calorie diabetic diet, renal diet, cardiac diet, 2 gram sodium diet, gluten-free diet, and so forth). Some hospitals, long term care centers, and assisted living facilities allow dietary aides to pass out meal trays, so some opportunities for patient interaction might arise. Of course, this is dependent on the policies and procedures of your place of employment.

Environmental Services Technician

You will be responsible for disinfecting patient rooms, performing housekeeping duties, properly disposing of biohazard materials per facility policy, responding to spills, and maintaining cleanliness. Many healthcare facilities use outside companies to do laundry. However, if your workplace has not outsourced laundering duties, the environmental services staff might be responsible for washing soiled linens and other clothing articles. Some brief opportunities for interaction with patients may arise.

Transporter

You will be responsible for safely transporting patients to and from different departments in the hospital. This position allows for plenty of interaction with multiple patients on a daily basis.

Direct Care Staff

Direct care staff members are primarily employed in intermediate care facilities and group homes in the community that house developmentally disabled clients. They give showers, help clients get dressed, prepare meals, assist with feeding and toileting, perform incontinent care, complete flow sheets, and provide companionship. Some states allow direct care staff members to pass oral medications to the clients. This role allows for a great deal of close contact with the patient population served by the group home.

Looking for a job? Visit allnurses Jobs

non-cna-jobs-you-can-work-while-youre-a-student.pdf

TheCommuter, BSN, RN, CRRN is a longtime physical rehabilitation nurse who has varied experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for more than four years prior to becoming a Registered Nurse.

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68 Comment(s)

This is great thanks!

wish_me_luck, BSN, RN

Has 6 years experience.

Another job that someone I know has done while in nursing school is a monitor technician. They are the people who sit in the rooms and watch the telemetry monitors and notify the nurse if anything abnormal shows up. Great experience reading EKG strips....

Stephalump

Specializes in Forensic Psych. Has 2 years experience.

And sitters! Monitor Tech and Sitter positions can be perfect because of the study time on slow nights.

And sitters! Monitor Tech and Sitter positions can be perfect because of the study time on slow nights.

What does a sitter do? Several months ago I came across a job listing for an ER sitter, and I had no clue what a sitter does.

VickyRN, MSN, DNP, RN

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience.

Phlebotomist is another good option.

Racer15, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED. Has 5 years experience.

Working at an assisted living facility is another good option. I knew a girl that worked as an aid at one during school and she had a lot of downtime to study. The residents have to be continent and able to keep up with meds on their own, and the pay is decent.

My hospital has strong opinions about 'sitters' studying, though it's sometimes possible. A sitter provides constant observation for a pt who is at risk for suicide, pulling lines/tubes, flight risk, fall risk. My hospital has the CNAs do it even though security would be better suited often, in my opinion.

Also, some of my classmates got experience in drug/alcohol counseling and planned parenthood that seems helpful for nursing. Anything that'll help you with deescalation will be useful.

Stephalump

Specializes in Forensic Psych. Has 2 years experience.

My hospital has strong opinions about 'sitters' studying' date=' though it's sometimes possible. A sitter provides constant observation for a pt who is at risk for suicide, pulling lines/tubes, flight risk, fall risk. My hospital has the CNAs do it even though security would be better suited often, in my opinion.[/quote']

My friends who are sitters are on the night shift. Sometimes their patients actually do sleep and they have quite a bit of down time.

But I do understand discouraging it. Better to just draw that line clearly than leave it up to the sitter's discretion and have something bad happen, perhaps.

Aongroup1990, CNA

Has 1 years experience.

Don't they also have patient care technicians, and in home care givers

Straight No Chaser, ASN, LPN

Specializes in Sub-Acute & Long-Term Care Nursing. Has 5 years experience.

Just wanted to add a lot of hospitals have non certified aide positions. Pay is a little less, but they teach you what you need to know.

"No day but today"

dirtyhippiegirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in PDN; Burn; Phone triage. Has 8 years experience.

Meh. Either get a CNA or PCA job. Nothing else counts when it comes to getting your first nursing job.

sarolarn, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiothoracic ICU.

Thank you for taking the time to post this, you already answered my thread before but it's still helpful.

Unit secretary...we've had a few of those get hired on as new grad nurses.

Unit secretary...we've had a few of those get hired on as new grad nurses.

I was a unit secretary for 8 years before transitioning into the RN role and it helped me immensely. I became very comfortable with my surroundings and knew a lot of the members of the allied health team that my anxiety wasn't as bad as compared to people just starting out.

ThePrincessBride, BSN

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 6 years experience.

I worked as a sitter for over a year, and no, you weren't allowed to do anything (read, do homework) unless it was a night shift (at one point, you couldn't even do that). I currently work as a PCA (Patient Care Associate). I don't have a license. My clinicals in nursing school are "substitutes."

I strongly suggest all students to work as CNAs, earn their stripes, and get down the basics of nursing care. I also find that working as a CNA is a humbling experience that many nurses could use (unfortunately, some nurses forget that CNAs are aides, not slaves). If you aren't willing to work as a CNA (assuming your situation allows it), then I have to wonder...why are you going into nursing to begin with?