Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are an important part of the healthcare team. These hard-working professionals provide much of the one-on-one attention patients require. Under the direction of a registered nurse (RN), CNAs deliver hands-on nursing care that includes bathing, dressing, feeding, as well as taking vital signs and other measurements at regular intervals.
If your goal is to become a nurse, starting out as a CNA is a great opportunity to explore the nursing field. You’ll get the chance to work alongside LPNs and RNs in a variety of healthcare settings, earning invaluable experience and skills along the way. In fact, easing into the occupation offers several important benefits. Let’s take a look.
Get Paid While You Train
Let’s face it—college tuition rates are skyrocketing, and nursing school won’t be getting cheaper anytime soon. If you don’t want to graduate with a mountain of student debt, earning your CNA certification is an excellent opportunity to make some money while you gain valuable on-the-job experience. You may even find an employer willing to pay for your CNA training.
Dip a Toe Without Diving In
This is the most obvious benefit of the ladder approach. You get to see what the nursing field is really like without immediately committing your life to it. Few other careers have such an opportunity to work in the field, side-by-side with the professionals you aspire to become. In many ways, it’s a lot like a grownup version of a paid internship, only much more rewarding. Plus, you can experience different healthcare settings to see which fits your style best: hospital, clinic, hospice, etc.
Confirm Your Passion
Nursing is more of a passion than a career. You’re called to the work because you have a desire to help others. On any given day, the sick, injured or elderly will be relying on you to care for their physical (and emotional) needs. One of the greatest benefits of working as a CNA before moving on to nursing school is that you get the chance to affirm in your heart that you have what it takes to deal with those demanding situations.
Boost Your Chances of Getting Into School
Along with rising tuition costs, nursing school is becoming more and more competitive every year. Why? Because it’s a quickly growing job market with plenty of demand all over the country. Look on any job posting site and you’ll find hospitals, clinics and senior care facilities looking for CNAs, LPNs and RNs. Having your CNA credential and on-the-job experience will set your nursing school application apart from those that are fresh out of high school.
Boost Your Chances of Getting a Nursing Job
This is what it’s all about, right? Getting that dream nursing job at the location of your choosing. Just because there are plenty of openings doesn’t mean every employer is desperate to hire just anyone. If you want the highest-paying nursing job with the best hours, the best boss and the best benefits, you’ll need an impressive resume. Working as a CNA proves many things to a future employer: you have hands-on experience, you’ll be able to jump in on day one, you’ve likely shown you can perform under pressure, and you’ve worked your way up, which shows your longevity and commitment to your chosen career.
Few careers offer such opportunities for on-the-job experience and training as the nursing field. With the ability to find free training and paid experience, you can explore nursing as a potential career without investing in four years of nursing school. If you see yourself in scrubs one day with RN next to your name, consider starting out as a CNA to see what the healthcare industry is all about.
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