Will a custodian job count against me?

  1. I am an older student changing careers after 20 years in my current field of fisheries biology. I need to take one prerequisite in order to apply for the local college's nursing program class starting in Fall 2019. I plan on getting a jump start and taking co-reqs for the ADN and BSN alongside this single pre-req.

    Constraints of my current job would make it impossible to take classes and keep working so I will soon be looking for a new temporary one. I would love to apply at our local hospital in order to get my foot in the door and start accruing retirement, PTO, sick leave etc.; it would give me a three year head start on this by the time I am done. However, the only positions that seem like they'd fit into my new school schedule are the custodian ones. I personally would prefer something of this nature as I don't enjoy sitting at a desk all day doing the same thing over and over.

    My question is, will a custodian job hurt me with human resources and/or future co-workers when it comes time to apply for an RN position? Will there be a sense of "Omg, wasn't she just mopping up crap two days ago? She thinks she can be a nurse? She's just a janitor!". And before it is mentioned, though I know it would be preferable to get my foot in the door, I'm not able to afford the CNA course so that is not an option at this time. And my EMT, EMT and FF1 certifications are not up to date so I can't use them for obtaining a temporary position.
    Last edit by wyofishgirl on Jun 11 : Reason: Explain medical experience
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    About wyofishgirl, EMT-B

    Joined: Mar '18; Posts: 12; Likes: 12


  3. by   meanmaryjean
    I don't envision the types of problems you do. If anything, a custodian position lets you meet a LOT of people at ALL levels of the organization. Then, when you get into the nursing program itself, you have lots of contacts who might speak up for you to get a tech/ extern position. work hard, be cheerful and see if it doesn't take you places!
  4. by   verene
    Shouldn't be a problem - one of my friends started out as a custodian, he did well in that role and his employer paid for his CNA, then when he finished his ADN he was given preference into a residency slot (even though the hospital normally hires BSNs), and now has had the same employer pay for his BSN.
  5. by   NICU Guy
    Custodians are the ultimate networkers. They get to interact with all employees, patients, and visitors. One of our custodians received a Commitment to Compassion award this year. He was 1 of 5 honorees out of 12,000 employees. Hospitals try to promote from within. A custodian that getting their nursing degree is a win for the hospital. Do you think that a healthcare group with 12,000 employees would give their highest award to a custodian if they looked down on them as just a person that cleans toilets?
  6. by   SopranoKris
    Not at all. We have quite a bit of turnover in our cleaning staff because people are going to school and take those jobs due to more flexibility in hours.
  7. by   wyofishgirl
    Thank you all for your positive comments. I really did see it as a way to network and become more familiar with the setting and you reinforced this!
  8. by   Wiggly Litchi
    Quote from wyofishgirl
    Thank you all for your positive comments. I really did see it as a way to network and become more familiar with the setting and you reinforced this!
    To me, willingness to work as a custodian shows work ethic - you're not scared of getting your hands dirty and doing what needs to be done. It's a seriously valuable quality! I think experience as a custodian will help you to network, and it will help you to get a feel for the healthcare environment so when you start clinicals, you won't be like a fish out of water.
  9. by   Here.I.Stand
    Fisheries -- cool! When I was in middle school I had considered working for the WI DNR.

    Anyway, it is an excellent networking opportunity! We have good working relationships with the regular custodial staff.

    I actually used to work with a CNA in subacute, and later crossed paths with her as a custodian at the hospital I now work for. I believe she had worked both jobs at one point. Working with her as a CNA, I always felt like my day would go better. I actually told her to use me as a reference if she decided to apply for a CNA position in the hospital.

    You would be demonstrating your work ethic by taking a "dirty" job -- and in your case prioritizing your nursing education by taking a job that offers more flexibility than your longtime fishery work.

    No decent human being looks down on someone who not only does honest work, but VERY IMPORTANT work. Actually one of Florence Nightengale's big innovations: sanitation in hospitals. Actually it's believed that 2/3 of Civil War casualties were due to DISEASE, not the battlefield injuries themselves.

    I also remember back in hospital orientation, our CEO recounted asking hospital employees how they supported our mission statement. A custodian said he contributed to pt/family centered care by making the patient's environment safer, more relaxing (*I* for one would go batty if I had to stare at an overflowing bin with diarrhea-soaked bedding!), and by helping them to feel cared for.