Nursing tech vs. waitress?

  1. Hi all! I'm a student at the University of Toledo majoring in nursing. Right now I am a waitress averaging $14-$17 an hour working Friday-Monday and going to school Tuesday-Thursday. I have an option to go work at a nearby hospital (St. Lukes) as a nursing tech, but I don't know what they make. I only have about $200 a month wiggle room (I'm a mom and have bills to pay, too). I know this would definitely help jumpstart my career and I love that it's in the field that I am going to school for, but if I'd be taking too large of a pay cut I can't do it. Does anyone know?? Thank you!
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    About Stephsky419

    Joined: Mar '12; Posts: 1


  3. by   foreverLaur
    If you can financially make it work to work at a local hospital, do it. I have been told by multiple nursing recruiters and nurse managers that they will hire a PCA/PSA/PCT over someone without that experience any day (assuming the rest of the application is fairly similar). In this tough job market, you need all the help you can get!
  4. by   ShantheRN
    You're not going to make that much as a PCA I would suggest compromising. Go standby at a hospital and wait tables to pay your bills. Working 32 hrs as a PCA I was making about $300/week. Your comparison doesn't quite reflect the truth because that $14-17 an hour is mostly tax free (unless you're that server that actually declares every single dollar they make lol.)
  5. by   sdlane
    Waitress makes more money !
  6. by   foreverLaur
    Quote from sdlane
    Waitress makes more money !
    No doubt, but getting in with nurses, nurse managers, and getting PCA experience is very valuable too! It would increase your chances of getting a RN job at least tenfold. I gave up waitressing and took a big salary hit to become a PCA and I got my dream job and dream preceptorship because of it.
  7. by   b0rea1is
    Quote from foreverLaur
    getting in with nurses, nurse managers, and getting PCA experience....
    doesn't help you as much as you'd think. Hiring of RN's is really bad right now. As a BSN with no experience, you probably have a better chance of getting hired than an ADN RN with ten years of experience. Stick with waitressing. As a PCA myself, I can tell you that PCA experience is not the same as RN experience.
  8. by   mshessle
    Go with the experience!!! If you do well there you can ask your manager for a reference for any department there. The reason I got my RN job in my perfect department was because I worked as a PCA in a completely different department at the hospital. I'm a new grad ADN and no other applications were even looked at because of my managers reference.
  9. by   Zadia
    Waitressing all the way! find a PCA PRN position if possible. you'll make more PRN and work less. Waitressing makes was more then PCA
  10. by   ladylysis
    There are MANY advantages to doing the PCA route!

    I work in the medical ICU of a very large hospital, and can tell you first-hand that PCAs get priority hiring consideration over almost any other candidates; after all, the managers have had two years to evaluate the work ethic, intelligence, timeliness, professionalism, and skills of people who've worked as PCAs during nursing school.

    The "critical care nursing" experience requirement is waived for those folks, too; they would otherwise never be able to get into Critical Care as new grads.

    Added bonus: working as a PCA and then getting hired into the unit gives you seniority over other new grads, which may come in handy when it comes to things like shift assignment and vacation scheduling.

    Ours make about $12 an hour - floors and ICUs alike, but your mileage may vary.

    Final plug: Every nurse I know who's done it swears that it was extremely helpful with their education.
  11. by   wantccu
    Agree ladylysis... PCA experience may not be the same as nursing, but it sure as heck makes a difference in knowing what to expect when you become a nurse. There is a dynamic to nursing floors that is impossible to describe unless you've been there. I've seen many nurses hit the floor after graduation having no idea of what to expect (Working on a floor is MUCH different than what you will experience in your clinicals) that struggled badly, in tears daily, decided they didn't want to be nurses, etc.

    The experience that nursing school doesn't give you - dealing with floor politics, stress coming from twenty different directions, prioritizing between what the book says and what actually needs to be done, dealing with family members, doctors, nasty nurses (every floor has em, trust me!) administration, etc.... is what being a PCNA will give you. Also, it will help you become very comfortable with patient care before your clinicals which will be a big leg up over those who don't have the experience.