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Reaching my dream through volunteering?

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Hi - Here's my situation... I'm currently a mom of 3, work a full time job and am in nursing school. I'd love to quit my day job and become a CNA but I just can't right now. So, I was thinking volunteering might be a good route to take in the meantime. From those of you that are nurses and/or nursing managers, would volunteering on the floor I want to work on when I graduate help me get a job there or would they prefer I have actual CNA or other hospital experience? The area I have a passion for is eating disorders and at this point I think that's where I want to work once I graduate. The job postings I've seen require a year or so experience and I'm wondering if being a volunteer would help me at least get my foot in the door. I have 3 more years of school and since I can't go the CNA route right now, I feel that being a volunteer might be the very best thing for me to do what I think I'll love. Any thoughts/advice on this?

Thanks in advance for your posts!

WOW - 3 kids, school & work - I'm not sure where you have the time ! But anything that gets you in the door, and making contacts is a good thing. You'll gain experience and insight and maybe some long term networking. potentially good references, too. Nice thing about volunteering - you can quit without repercussions if it is too much for your schedule.

I think it's a great idea. You will make connections that will really be able to help you (I know this from personal experience!). You will have an ability to experience a wide variety of areas as well. It will expose you to things that others may not be exposed to. And any interactions you get with patients, visitors, nurses, doctors will only help you.