CNA with no 'real' experience

  1. Hi everyone!

    I earned my CNA certification about a year ago; I applied to a few jobs, but received few replies. Most of the replies I did receive were from companies that didn't offer benefits or had wages just a bit too low to accept. I went to a few interviews, but ultimately received calls something to the affect of "We thought you were great, a strong candidate, but we had to hire the candidate with experience. Please try again if you see another listing."

    I'm in nursing school and expect to graduate next August--so I'd really like to finish out my last year of nursing school working in the health care field. I've completed only my CNA clinical (about 32 hours) and my Nursing Fundamentals clinical. I start my Med/Surg I this semester.

    That's the background information. I have two interviews next week for CNA positions that will meet my needs. I think my biggest obstacle will be lack of 'real' experience, working in hospital or nursing home, versus being there 1 day a week for clinical. Does anyone have any tips on how to address this in the interview?

  2. Visit libby11 profile page

    About libby11

    Joined: Oct '11; Posts: 84; Likes: 30
    RN, Case Manager in Pediatric Home Care; from US


  3. by   CapeCodDreamer
    What does your resume look like? Does it focus on your lack of experience, or do you highlight your clinical hours and/or any relevant volunteer experience? That's the way I secured my position---by adjusting my resume to focus more on the skills/experience through clinicals and volunteering, it made up for my lack of paid work experience. You can follow this right through to the interview, and speak of what you experienced and gained through clinicals.

    Make sure to also research the company/facility you are interviewing for, and pepper your interview with the knowledge you gained from your research!

    Good luck!
    Last edit by CapeCodDreamer on Sep 7, '12 : Reason: Had more to add
  4. by   libby11
    Thanks for the insight.

    My resume is currently a bit scattered as far as work experience: Cashier, Chemical Lab Analyst, Professional Cleaner, Banking & IT.
    As far as experience, I hope to speak about my clinical experiences. I have direct patient experience with the ADLs of the CNA world and experience inserting catheters, administering enemas, taking vitals, completing total patient assessments, and charting. I feel confident in my ability to interpret relevant chart data and apply it as well as make and record meaningful patient observations. My continued education in nursing reinforces important concepts like patient safety, total patient care, and infection control. My background in a variety of customer service fields (general, cleaning, & banking/IT/technical support) will lend to my ability to work directly with each patient and especially the patient who may be upset.

    One place where I feel I may have looked a weak candidate before would be when asked "How many patient have you taken care of in one day for a given 8 hour shift as a CNA." I could only answer that 4 patients were my dedicated responsibility (and that was only once in CNA clinical.) My nursing fundamentals clinical was on a floor where there were many 'interesting' patients and we focused a lot on assessments, but there wasn't much care for us to aide with as many patients were somewhat independent and making strong recoveries. Of course, our job is to encourage the patient to do as much as they can possibly and safely do for themselves. I could not honestly say that I performed the essential CNA duties for 4 patients--for my nursing clinical. I really only provided total care for 1 patient a day and spent the remainder of the day doing assessments, a procedure here or there, and observing/researching what my instructor would call a 'neat' patient.

    I know that I could perform the CNA duties for 8 or so patients after two weeks of orientation. I am about 2 semesters further into my nursing school than since my last interview, so I hope that knowledge and confidence will show through! I also am certain that my professional references will attest highly to my attendance record and dedication on the job.

    I know that many employers are now incorporating behavioral interviewing style questions, and so I've spent some time considering the questions they may ask, in hopes that I won't be caught off guard.