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Should I work as a CNA or PCT?

Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I am in my mid-thirties and halfway through nursing school. I have not worked since after I graduated college. I am doing great in school, making A's and getting good clinical evals and feedback. I'm wondering if I will be a hard hire when I get my license, since I have no employment history in the past decade. Should I get a job as a PCT or CNA now, or would hiring managers prefer new nurses come in not having learned any "bad habits" at prior medical field jobs?


Dear Should I Work as a PCT or CNA,

Yes! Yes, you definitely should work as a PCT or CNA while in nursing school.

If possible, try to get a job working at the hospital you want to someday work in as an RN.

Your time spent working as a PCT is time spent auditioning for your future RN job.

Forge working relationships, be reliable and willing- make a name for yourself. Introduce yourself to the nurse managers and tell them you would love an opportunity to work there once you graduate.

You will receive personal endorsements and have insider advantage when the time comes.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

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Edited by traumaRUs

I would like to know if you think it is necessary to work as a CNA or PCT. I was unable to get a job like that and will graduate nursing school in December. However, I am doing volunteer work in a hospital close by.

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

I would like to know if you think it is necessary to work as a CNA or PCT. I was unable to get a job like that and will graduate nursing school in December. However, I am doing volunteer work in a hospital close by.

Volunteer work is really good on a new grad resume. Sometimes, all things being equal, volunteering is the thing that sets you apart from others. It will not go unnoticed.

Don't despair if you weren't able to land a job as a CNA or PCT- the majority of new grad applicants haven't, either :) At the same time, if it's possible for you to get a CNA or PCT job during summer break, it would help you out when you graduate. Good luck !

Working as a CNA is bedside work and probably requires a state certificate. Working as a PCT is patient care as in combing hair, helping a patient to get dressed and does not require a certificate. Review the requirements on the State board of nursing website and put your applications in. Go to hospitals if they even use PCTs or go to SNF and apply there. Also there are assisted living homes and homes for the developmentally disabled that use PCTs. There are a variety of areas to look into and then there is always volunteering, But if you are going to do hard work why not get paid. You can be a mother at home where you will take abuse, nagging and harassment, and not get paid. I think you have done enough volunteering, Go for the green. Someone has to pay for that gas, and books and uniforms,

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