Jumping into nursing is a scary business especially when you’re starting clinical with zero experience. That’s why beginning your medical career as a CNA is a smart move. Though you’ll be starting at the bottom of the chain you’re going to get the experience and confidence to make you a great nurse. Being a CNA may be hard physical work but it’s an incredibly satisfying way to dip your toe into the medical profession.
1. Find Out If Nursing Is Really For You
Working as a CNA is a low-commitment way to see if working in the medical profession is what you really want. You have to love people plus have an iron-clad stomach; sometimes the only way to find out is to get in there and try it. Training to become a CNA is less expensive and less time consuming than for RNs. You can even do it part-time while working elsewhere or studying. If you decide a medical career isn’t for you, you’ve wasted less time and money. But we’re pretty sure that you’ll love it.
2. You’ll Be Prepared
Nursing students who’ve been CNAs first tend to be much more comfortable when it comes to clinicals. You’ll have already done all the basic tasks such as emptying catheters and colostomy bags, bathing, and changing/ turning patients plus you’ll have some knowledge of swallowing problem, oxygen, and feeding tubes. You’ll also be building the organizational and prioritization skills that are so prized in nurses. With this training under your belt you’ll be well primed to take your work to the next level.
3. Put Yourself Through School
Working as a CNA is a great way to fund your nursing education. It pays decently—about $11.54 per hour as of 2010 according to the U.S. Department of Labor. It also offers flexible, part-time schedules that work well for busy students. Just be sure to cut back your hours as your schooling finishes up as you’ll need extra time to complete your coursework and graduate successfully. Some prospective RNs get caught up in working double-shifts and fail to finish their studies. Balance your work and studies to stay on the road to becoming an RN.
4. Some RN Programs Require It
Select programs such as in Ohio expect that you get your STNA (state tested nursing assistant) or CNA certification before you apply. You don’t actually need to work as a CNA to be a nurse, you just need the practical training. For those schools that don’t require it, CNA training may give you an edge to get in. Of course the extra income and on-the-job experience you get by holding a CNA position are great assets for your future nursing career.
5. It’ll Be Easier To Find A Job
Nursing is a booming business—the demand for RNs will increase by a whopping 26% between 2010 and 2020 according to the U.S. Department of Labor. If you’re a CNA, it’s likely that your employer will be eager to provide assistance or tuition reimbursement if you’re enrolled in an RN program. Plus since you’re already employed at a hospital or other facility you may find an RN job waiting for you at the end of the line.