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Should a pre-nursing student get a nursing related job to increase future nursing job prospects?

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Kara638 Kara638 (New) New Pre-Student

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Should a pre-nursing student get a nursing related job to increase future nursing job prospects? I am taking my nursing pre-requisites right now for ABSN program. I already have a Bachelors degree. I am wondering if I should start working or volunteering now so I can be a good job candidate for RN jobs after I graduate and become a nurse. I don't have any nursing-related jobs on my resume right now. I also plan on becoming a CRNA. Please advise. Thank you!

TheMoonisMyLantern, ADN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Mental health, substance abuse, geriatrics, PCU. Has 14 years experience.

While it's not required. I think it certainly doesn't hurt. It allows you to get a taste of what healthcare is like and what is expected of you. It also allows you to network and often if you prove to be a good employee it can open doors for you.

Becoming a CNA or certified nursing assistant is a good way to get started in nursing and most classes are fairly short and reasonably priced. 

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

You should because you want to learn and become competent and confident. 

Delia37, MSN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 15 years experience.

It doesn't hurt. It give you a chance to see first hands what nurses do and figure out if it works for you. I am currently working as a clinical instructor and I often witness students have a hard time in clinicals because it was not what they were expecting. On the other hand, many of my students had been hired right out of nursing school because they already were working as nurse assistant ( ….around my neck of the wood, hospitals tend to hire nursing students as nurse aides); It definitely improve your chances of getting a job after graduation. 

Edited by Delia37
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peach2218, CNA

Specializes in CNA, Nursing Student.

I honestly can't recommend being a CNA enough. I was a CNA in a nursing home for almost 4 years (0/10 do not recommend) but now I'm working as a CNA in a hospital as I finish up school and it has helped me so much. My hospital also lets people who already work with them get first pick of RN jobs after graduation, so that's a huge perk. 

CNA and EMT are both great roles to get relevant experience.

CNAs definitely get their foot in the door for hospital work because in addition to getting really good at the patient care aspect, you learn a lot about the flow of the floor, see the effect of interventions, and are often the first one to notice a problem with a patient.  Obviously, you would bring it to the RN's attention rather than handling it yourself, but it can give good clinical observation practice.  It also gives the nurses and managers a chance to know you and be impressed by your work ethic.  In my class, the ones who had jobs first were the ones who already worked in a CNA/PCT role, and were hired onto their units.

EMT is a bit different because you're not right inside the hospital, so you don't get to know the nurse managers, etc.  But you do get to learn a lot of skills that are really helpful for nurses - IV insertion, EKG interpretation, administering a limited group of medications.  Coupled with on-the-scene assessment skills, many EMTs find themselves in a strong position to transition to nursing, especially Emergency nursing.

Most volunteer positions are not worth it, if your goal is clinical experience or getting your foot in the door with an organization.  Most facilities will not allow you to do any patient care at all.  Before COVID, our volunteers did things like bake cookies or push around the comfort cart (books, magazines, lip balm, etc.).  Since COVID, we don't allow volunteers on the floor at all.  The only exception I can see would be hospice volunteer. While it might not directly translate the way CNA or EMT would, some home hospice volunteers do get to provide some direct patient care, and can get a really solid understanding of the dying/comfort process and navigating family dynamics that can come in handy later.  This is probably not as helpful to your particular goals as CNA or EMT, but it's an often-overlooked opportunity so I thought I'd mention it.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 29 years experience.

I think every previous post has been spot on!

JBMmom, MSN

Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 9 years experience.

Whether it helped them get a job or not, I'm not sure, but my classmates that were CNAs had a huge advantage in the first couple clinical semesters by comparison with those of us coming into nursing without that experience. I am a second career nurse and spent much of my first 17 year career behind a microscope or at a Chemistry bench. I had no experience moving patients, or touching people, I couldn't even get a blood pressure without feeling awkward at first. I marveled at how easily my fellow students that were CNAs navigated around all aspects of patient care. I highly recommend it before school.

EMT and hospice are both excellent recommendations for their own skills. Good luck.

I can't suggest it enough.  Although I was not a CNA, I did perform the duties as a nurse tech for a year before graduation.  Charting alone will knocked me around for a bit, especially regarding time management.  It will make you feel more confident once you hit the floor.  Best of luck

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

It is optional, but CNA does make a good student job with the shifts available on nights, evenings and weekends. You also get to meet people who might help you land a job. The majority of new grads hired into our ICU, and we only hire a few, have been CNAs or unit secretaries working there. 

DavidFR, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health. Has 35 years experience.

Can only second what peope have said, not obligatory but a good idea. I was a Nurse's Aide (or Nursing Auxilliary as we called it in the UK back then) before starting my training, and yes, the experience was very useful. I felt I was a little ahead of those who'd had no hospital experience whatsoever.  

sleepwalker, MSN, NP

Specializes in Occupational Health. Has 17 years experience.

Just putting it out there....

I did an accelerated BSN program and we had 2 students that attempted to work during the program...both failed out. You weren't told you couldn't work but it was HIGHLY discouraged due to the extremely fast paced and heavy course load along with clinicals.

1 hour ago, sleepwalker said:

Just putting it out there....

I did an accelerated BSN program and we had 2 students that attempted to work during the program...both failed out. You weren't told you couldn't work but it was HIGHLY discouraged due to the extremely fast paced and heavy course load along with clinicals.

I did an ABSN program, and multiple people worked and passed. Yes, it was discouraged.  But people still need to pay rent, eat, etc.  Not everyone can afford tuition and living expenses for a full year without an income.  And what about people with children?  Kids take up more time than a job, but it's not like you can check out of parenting for a year. 

No program is 24/7.  It's completely possible to work, go to class & clinicals, and study.  The key is you have to make sure you really dedicate the time you have left to studying.

I didn't work, but I had two small children (kindergarten and preschool).  I guarantee I spent more time caring for them than my classmates did working.  I even managed to arrange my clinicals so I was able to always be the Thursday morning mom helper in Kindergarten.  It just meant being really, really disciplined with the rest of my time.  For me, that meant getting my books digitally so my texts were on my phone, and any spare 5 or 10 minute block I had could be spent reading.  I studied in a coffee shop that didn't have wi-fi, so I would not be tempted to navigate away from my texts.

OP probably shouldn't start a NEW job when she's doing her ABSN, but if she gets through her training and orientation when she's doing her prerequisites, she should be in good shape to work at least a few shifts per week during school.  It just means she has to cut back on some of the other things she'd otherwise do in her free time.

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 24 years experience.

Most of the nursing programs I know required a CNA before admission. But water under the bridge. I recommend you become a CNA before you graduate. It will teach you a lot.

Good luck.