Work a hard job as a PCT, or stay at my cushy jobs?

Nursing Students General Students


I am in a full-time BSN program and I currently work in a relief position at a local hospital. I work in what is essentially a Ronald McDonald house, where families who have patients in the hospital can stay. I get a guaranteed six hours every other week with random 16-24 hour shifts interspersed. Some months I'll only work 12 hours and other months I'll work 60-80. The job is incredibly easy, I get to study/do homework almost the entire time, and the pay is ~10.50/hr, depending on shift diff. In addition to this I nanny/babysit about 10-15 hours per week (again, this varies) for $12-16/hour, and it's typically pretty easy as well.

A relief position opened up as a PCT in the post-partum unit and I applied for it. The interview went really well but I won't know until Monday or Tuesday if I got the job. If I get the job, I'll most likely be able to keep my other relief job, so I'll have two jobs within the hospital. The PCT job is a guaranteed 12 hours per pay period, but will most likely have 2-4 12 hour shifts throughout the pay period. The shifts will be night and day shifts, and I'm not sure about the pay. Unlike my other two jobs, this one will be a lot of work but has the potential to be a budgeted job so I can get reimbursed for school.

This is my dillemma: if offered, do I take the PCT job and work the two relief jobs while cutting back on babysitting, or do I stay where I am? I would really like the experience of the PCT job and am a hard worker and love being busy at work, but I'm worried it could cut into my school work during the semester if I am working that much without the ability to study at work. I've been able to work mostly full time this semester (sometimes 60+ hours/week) and am going into finals with all my classes at a 98% or better grade, but am heading into my second semester, which is notoriously the hardest. So I'm torn between keeping my cushy jobs where I can do schoolwork and get paid good money, or work hard, get experience, and potentially get school paid for.

For those of you that worked as a PCT/CNA during nursing school, do you think it benefited you in the end? Is it worth it for me to take the job for the experience, or just stay where I am with my focus on learning the material for school? I will ultimately want to be a nurse at the hospital I work at and think that being an employee with them for so long (whether it is patient-related or not) is good either way, so I'm not sure if it would be worth it to be a PCT if it will make me have to work much harder in school and have the potential to affect my grades. (I will most likely continue with schooling after being a nurse for 5-7 years to be an NP, so it's important to keep my GPA up.)

If you read my book of a post, thank you! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Go for the experience. I'd cut back on the nannying and get as much experience as I could. You can make time to study outside of work, but you can't get experience without working.

Specializes in Cardiac Care.

I grew leaps and bounds as an aide while in school. I don't believe I would have grown to that extent if I hadn't been an aide. I highly recommend it.

That being said, I quit an awesome cushy job making $20 per hour, guaranteed 8 hours a week. With the other reimbursements I made at that job included, I practically had to work 2 - 12's in the hospital to make the same as my one little 8 hour shift. It was definitely hard to do during nursing school, for sure!

I became an aide with an eye towards 1) seeing if I could cut it when it came to direct patient care and 2) to see if I would like it. Happily, the answer to both was a resounding yes and it is what lead to my pursuing nursing. The amount of confidence you gain in just basic patient interaction is worth it, to say nothing of the clinical skills you develop. It's tough work to be sure, but I heartily endorse it for the experience.

Since this is in the same facility. Stay at your cushy job. More time to study when things get rough, but if you need the money go for the PCT. You don't want to be stressed and working a stressful job.

Thank you all for the advice! It also happens to be perfect timing in that the semester is almost over and if offered the job, I can see how things go over the summer and re-evaluate everything once the semester starts. Its' reassuring to hear that it would be worth it for the experience! I'm definitely leaning towards accepting it, if offered.

If I could turn back time, I would have gotten a job as an CNA or PCT during nursing school. The experience will help you tremendously when its time to look for that first job as a new grad RN. I would say go for the experience. Its much needed in this economy and job market.

Specializes in NICU.

If you have the opportunity and time, getting a job in the hospital (especially if it is in the dept. you want to work in after nursing school) will give you an advantage over other graduates that are not working at the hospital.

At first glance I would say no to aide because contrary to what people say here not being an aide in school sets you back maybe a month of experience in real life with regard to changing linens and superficially dealing with patients. However since your job will be post-partum I would take it. Why? That job is cake for a PCT when compared to the other floors you could be on. Most of the population is relatively healthy and with it mentally for the most part. Easy money.

Specializes in Public Health.

Well I will say that my experience has cut my orientation in half in comparison to the other new grads at my hospital.

When it comes to changing linens, dealing with patients, etc, I am very comfortable. There is always room for growth of course, but those are things I'm not nervous about it. At my cliniclas now I am very confident in what I'm doing! I volunteered in the ER for 4 hours/week for a year and that was basically what I did, as well as stocking all the bedsides, carts, desks, running around the hospital for various things, etc. I don't have as much experience with vitals on real patients (aside from the million and one vitals we did in my CNA class/clinicals and what we've done so far in the nursing program), PKUs, and handling multiple patients that are actually my responsibility, so that is where I'd learn.

Dranger, the job being easy is what I'm afraid of! I hate hate hate not being busy, so if I had to sit around and create busy work for myself, I'd be so unhappy. At least at my current jobs I can do homework! This sounds like a relatively steady unit (it isn't just post-partum, but any kind of surgery related to the female anatomy) so I hope I won't have an 'easy' workload, but I know it'll be easier and calmer than most units. Hopefully if it's slow I'll at least be able to study note cards. ;)

And Don, I wants to work in peds (likely pediatric oncology) so while it's not exactly the department, at least it's halfway there!

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