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Work as CNA through nursing school? possible?

anilea anilea (New) New

I'm a mom of 3 kids, and was in the middle of my nursing program when I had some extreme babysitter issues and could not keep attending classes. It's been a couple years and I think we are in a better spot for me to try again but I'll have to reapply and start over. My job now is terrible and I've been wanting out for years, I have a possible job opportunity to work as a CNA but would mean me quitting my current job- where I currently make my own hours.

Does this sound at all feasible? I would be scraping by with the low pay, and I don't know if I would lose my mind trying to manage my kids and a normal shift job and nursing school.

Should I suck it up for another few years or try to make it as a CNA while going through school?

It would be better to keep the job you have now as it has flexible hours. That will help you out a lot in nursing school when your schedule changes often. I understand your frustrated with your job but if it pays well and is flexible ots better to just stick it out until you finish school. If you take the CNA job and can't switch up your hours and lower pay you will just be adding more unnecessary stress.

AI1711

Specializes in ICU tech. Has 4 years experience.

I wouldn’t do CNA. I’m a mom of two about to restart school full time finishing nursing prereq ( 1 more semester before I apply to nursing school) and I’m about to quit my ICU tech job that I love. I’m part time in a union which meant awesome health insurance but also meant doing four shifts a week some weeks due to mandatory weekends every other week. My commute is long. I worked a covid designated ICU. We adjusted to that (was long shifts in nyc though with a n95 on all shift turning and cleaning covid patients all day long at height of it) but the worst was four shifts a week sometimes and the commute. I have seen a lot of CNA delay finishing BSN due to balancing work, school, and family including me. The pay is peanuts and it can delay route to BSN. I’m surrounded by young grads earning $$$$ as RN here who never worked as tech or CNA in their life.

On 6/26/2020 at 8:09 AM, AI1711 said:

I’m part time in a union which meant awesome health insurance but also meant doing four shifts a week some weeks due to mandatory weekends every other week.

I know it's too late now, but a great trick for dealing with stuff like that is just work every weekend. The reason everyone rotates is because nobody wants to work those days so it's the only fair way to force people to do it. And eventually, you get to a point where you'd rather go out on a Wednesday because nobody else is.

No matter what you do in the working world, if you're willing to work weekends, or work nights (even better if it's both), your job will do so much for you. There's a rule that you only get christmas eve or christmas day off and you wanted to travel and need both off? Your boss might be more willing to "forget" to put you on the schedule for that day you usually don't work. Or might give you both new years eve and day instead. My experience, if the holiday was during the week, most of the bosses I've had just forgot to schedule me for any of them because scheduling me every weekend is just automatically already done and they forget to go back and edit it. Which is fair, I'm working 26 more weekends than I have to. Somebody else can work a holiday for me. The tradeoff, you're working every easter, and some years you're getting both christmas eve and day, and new years eve and day, which is usually a premium everywhere, even McDonalds, so you deal with it that one year to make a ridiculous amount of extra money...

JabuJabule, LPN

Specializes in LTC. Has 1 years experience.

I became a CNA after my first semester of LPN school. Quit my comfy job of pharmacy tech, making $17 an hour picking my hours, to working as a CNA at my first clinical site on weekends, making $13 an hour until I graduated and passed the NCLEX 7 months later.

However, I did love the experience it got me. Being a CNA is HARD work, and a lot don't seem to understand that. I got a lot of quality time with patients, learned how to talk to people, etc. I wouldn't change it for the world, even though I was only making $1 above minimum wage.

I'm split on the idea. While your job sounds very lofty, the experience you get as a CNA is INVALUABLE. If I had to pick a side, I'd say get your CNA and work part time or per diem.

You'll make the right decision in the end. If you need more help let me know. 🙂

AI1711

Specializes in ICU tech. Has 4 years experience.

I think a big issue if if you have kids in particular young kids under the age of five and if you have free baby sitting for them. If you have free unlimited baby sitting then CNA may be worth it. It’s invaluable work experience. I would say it is way more straight forward to balance school and being a CNA if you are childless or have older kids .. or if you have free unlimited trusted baby sitting. If you have to pay for babysitting to go to a CNA job where you’re not making much it’s starts to cancel the benefits. Also it’s very tiring work, turning, bathing patients, some who are combative - it can mentally take it out of you also. You have to have energy and focus for school work also. My school I need A in prereq or I’m not getting in. I have to get in that school because it’s CUNY and I need the cheaper tuition fees. I asked my boss if to all work weekends a while back and she told em to ask my fellow tech at the hospital who is full time. My full time coworker refused to let me work all the weekends because “she wanted flexibility” when I handed in my notice she then offered to work Monday- fri only (which most people would love). .. was too late. My youngest child is 8 months old and still major work to get to sleep etc. I am now looking into working for the city in a different healthcare role. The chances are that I may just focus on school. As I said my unit was full of RN with zero tech or CNA experience .. when I floated it was the same story. I can count on one hand the amount of RN in the hospital who previously worked as tech there.

On 7/5/2020 at 8:30 PM, AI1711 said:

I think a big issue if if you have kids in particular young kids under the age of five and if you have free baby sitting for them. If you have free unlimited baby sitting then CNA may be worth it. It’s invaluable work experience. I would say it is way more straight forward to balance school and being a CNA if you are childless or have older kids .. or if you have free unlimited trusted baby sitting. If you have to pay for babysitting to go to a CNA job where you’re not making much it’s starts to cancel the benefits. Also it’s very tiring work, turning, bathing patients, some who are combative - it can mentally take it out of you also. You have to have energy and focus for school work also. My school I need A in prereq or I’m not getting in. I have to get in that school because it’s CUNY and I need the cheaper tuition fees. I asked my boss if to all work weekends a while back and she told em to ask my fellow tech at the hospital who is full time. My full time coworker refused to let me work all the weekends because “she wanted flexibility” when I handed in my notice she then offered to work Monday- fri only (which most people would love). .. was too late. My youngest child is 8 months old and still major work to get to sleep etc. I am now looking into working for the city in a different healthcare role. The chances are that I may just focus on school. As I said my unit was full of RN with zero tech or CNA experience .. when I floated it was the same story. I can count on one hand the amount of RN in the hospital who previously worked as tech there.

Thank you!! I am all out of free babysitters unfortunately, I would have to find someone I completely trust and pay them as well. I know the CNA pay isn't great but I guess I didn't realize it could possibly be that low. I will keep trying to tough it out at my terrible current job, thank you for your insight!!

I worked as a CNA throughout nursing school and it was stressful. The hours were long and the pay was horrendous. If you can set your own hours at your current job, then you should just stick with it. Nursing school is hard enough without working long shifts for peanut pay.