How to get nursing experience before you've been accepted to nursing school

  1. I just applied to nursing school and I thought I was a shoe-in: I have a 4.0 in my prereqs, and I had a 4.0 graduate school gpa & a 3.6 undergrad. I got a 93 on my TEAS, and I've been volunteering at a clinic for 2 years. I have an MA in writing, and I had other writing profs help me perfect my SOP. Great LORs, too.

    But the people who got in had something I didn't - they'd been shadowing nurses and physicians, and working directly with patients. I am in nursing case management, which means that while I make sure patients get, and make it to, their appointments, I don't get to take blood pressure, etc. How on earth did these other applicants get such great experience without even having gone to nursing school?

    So I've decided it's time for me to get more experience before I apply again. Here's my question: would it be best for me to get my CNA? Or should I become an MA? A paramedic? Something else?

    I am leaning toward the CNA, since my dream is to become a hospice nurse. I guess after I get it, I'll be able to apply for jobs in nursing homes. But it seems like the MAs I work with get to assist the NPs, which is what I'd really love to do - the MAs get a lot of mentoring. And paramedics learn how to work under pressure & know just what to do in an emergency. Hmm.

    Any suggestions?
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    About Melanin

    Joined: Mar '11; Posts: 48; Likes: 19


  3. by   SopranoKris
    Check with the program you are applying to in order to determine what the best type of HCE hours would be acceptable. The program I applied to will take CNA, Phlebotomy, EMT-Basic, MA & PCT. I did a phlebotomy certification course and I loved it. I feel like I'll be able to insert IVs with no problem once we start doing this in nursing school

    See if being a CNA is what you really want to do. I did CNA back in the early 90s and I hated it. I never got to do anything other than wipe butts and make beds at the nursing home I was assigned to. I'm not saying it's a bad job, but I never got to experience at work the full scope of my training. (Bad facility). It put me off wanting to pursue nursing for a while. I was in my young 20s back then and didn't know how to handle dealing with pervy old men...LOL!
  4. by   Melanin
    Phlebotomy - I hadn't thought of that! It sounds like fun. . .
  5. by   SopranoKris
    It is fun. Very simple and a good way to get HCE hours. However, I would highly suggest you check with the program you wish to apply to to make sure they accept phlebotomy as paid HCE hours for admissions points. Every program is different.

    I had a great experience doing my phlebotomy externship at the hospital and made some great future contacts. It felt like a 3 month job interview Everyone was very encouraging about me going to nursing school. My husband just had surgery there this week and many of the nurses & PAs I worked with dropped by to say hello and ask if I've received my letter for nursing school yet. Hope I'll get to do my clinicals there!
  6. by   Melanin
    Wow, thank you so much for the advice! I will check with the program, as you suggested. I just found a phlebotomy course (there are tons of them offered this summer), and I'm definitely going to consider this option. It'd be great to review the circulatory system - in my anatomy class, it seems like we focused so much on bones and muscles. It sounds like you're having a great experience!
  7. by   SopranoKris
    Yeah, it was great doing rounds in the morning and feeling like I could get a draw on any vein, even the patients who are tough pokes. Makes you feel more confident going in to nursing school. I really enjoyed it. A completely different experience than CNA.

    Best of luck to you!