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Should I become a CNA before school starts?

Posted

I haven't worked in a care home before and I need the experience. So I was thinking about being a CNA to support myself and help pay for school. But I was thinking is this the best thing to do or is there another route? I don't want to take out a bunch of loans and I want to do my LVN first, then bridge later. What is your advise?

:innerconf

SummerGarden, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ED, ICU, MS/MT, PCU, CM, House Sup, Frontline mgr. Has 13 years experience.

Do what is best for you. That is the advice you will get on here. I personally think if you have the time to be a CNA and work as a CNA then get your CNA before school starts. It will not hurt you to do so, it will only help. I was a different kind of tech before becoming a nursing extern (I LOVE THIS JOB). However, if I had to do it all over again, I would have been a CNA before nursing school. GL!

RNDreamer

Specializes in acute care.

I agree that you should do what is best for you. If you have an interest in being a CNA, go for it. When I decided to become a CNA, I was still debating whether or to make a second attempt to pursue a nursing degree. All I knew at the time was that I needed to get away from my office job, but I didn't want to go from one office job to another so I decided to become a CNA while figuring out my next move.

I got certified and worked as an HHA. I loved it 10X better than my office job. I start a new job at a nursing home in a few days, so this will be my first experience with a patient load of more that 3.

Like you, I am worried about loans and hope that this job will help decrease the amount I will need for next year.

Whatever you decide, good luck.

I haven't worked in a care home before and I need the experience. So I was thinking about being a CNA to support myself and help pay for school. But I was thinking is this the best thing to do or is there another route? I don't want to take out a bunch of loans and I want to do my LVN first, then bridge later. What is your advise?

:innerconf

Katie82, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, PH, CM. Has 39 years experience.

Pumpkin: Most ADN programs today are progressive - after the first semester, you are a CNA, the second semester a LVN, and two years to RN. See if you can find this kind of program. All students take the same classes, so if you stop at LVN, you won't have to retake any classes if you decide to go back for RN. We used to call these TopCap programs, but they probably have another name now. Usually found in the Community College setting. Also, be sure you look for financial aid. I mentor a young lady who got a Pell Grant. They pay her tuition and expenses and she will not have to pay it back.

Sillynicunurse

Specializes in Med/Surg ICU, NICU.

From personal experience I have really benefited from working in the hospital environment during school. I feel more comfortable in the clinical setting than most that I go to school with that do not work in the healthcare setting. I have learned more by merely watching the nurses in action at work than I have ever learned in my clinical experiences. I am 8 weeks away from graduation and am happy that I have had this experience.

It is probably a good idea. I changed careers at age 50, went to a BSN program that was very theoretical, and graduated pretty clueless about the basic operations of a nursing floor and patient care. It made for a rough first year, let me tell you.

However, you must also consider your schoolwork. Don't let the demands of a CNA job interfere with your studies. Nursing schools LOVE to flunk people out.

Good luck to you,

Oldiebutgoodie

pagandeva2000, LPN

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

Being a CNA was helpful regarding learning how to interact with people, understand their fears, get them to cooperate with simple procedures such as washing and drawing blood. When I became a nurse, I began to see how a good aide is worth their weight in gold, because if vital signs were not done on a timely basis or if they were not washed and cared for, it made my job harder. However, I can also say that for some reason, it really didn't help much with nursing school besides that.

Do what is best for you. I have seen students become phenomenal LPNs and RNs without it as well. It is the common sense, observation, caring, time management and critical thinking is most important. And, you will see, there are people all throughout the medical profession that made it through the fire without those same skills.

My nursing school requires us to become a CNA, HHA or PCA before entering the program. It's a mandatory pre-req. I'm going the HHA route. I've heard mixed reviews, but I plan on working as a HHA while in NS so I'm happy about it. Others were upset about incurring yet another course.

Virgo_RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, ED.

Our program required it. I think it was really beneficial.

NewRN2008, ASN, RN

Specializes in Ortho; Gyn; Urology; HBOT; Emergent. Has 8 years experience.

for sure NOT a requirment! i did not, although i had other HC experience, i do not believe at all that you HAVE to do cna like some believe with a full heart.

-H-

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

I would recommend CNA unless you are already supporting yourself on a better paying job.

Unless you will be living at home with your parents(like I did), the pay is not high and does not go far.

The experience is valuable for all the reasons listed above.

CaLLaCoDe, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology, Oncology, Medsurge.

The advantages to being a CNA prior to being the nurse are many fold. You'll be enjoying the benefits of gleaning tricks of the trade from experienced RNs; you'll learn how to prioritize your care and gain insight concerning time management skills.

When you become the nurse, you'll perceive your role in a more holistic light as one who will not hesitate to provide hygienic care, oral care, peri care to a patient in need when the aides are busy with other tasks and unavailable. Your aides will feel you are part of the team and not just a grand dictator, especially if you help to empty a foley or two at end of shift.

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