When entering the medical profession and specifically nursing, one thing all prospective candidates look to obtain is nursing experience. This will help them in their pathway to eventually becoming a nurse after completing their training.
There are very few ways for aspiring nurses to get the clinical nursing experience they’ll need for employers to want to hire them. One method is to become a certified nursing assistant or CNA. Being a CNA isn’t the same as being a nurse, but the two roles share many of the same responsibilities as a CNA works alongside nurses.
What Is Considered Clinical Nursing Experience?
Before exploring becoming a CNA and its validity as a type of nursing experience, it helps to define what exactly is considered clinical nursing experience – as well as what is not considered clinical nursing experience.
Clinical nursing experience refers to any time spent working in a nursing capacity in a medical facility. This can mean be true for multiple positions within a hospital or healthcare facility’s organizational infrastructure.
It does not refer to time spent in nursing school. Though nursing school is a vital and necessary component of becoming a nurse, it typically does not qualify as actual nursing experience. Becoming a CNA, on the other hand, does count as nursing experience.
Different types of nursing experience positions include that of CNA, nurses, or orderlies. The work involved with each of these positions varies. What’s true for all of them, however, is that they are considered clinical nursing experience.
Is CNA a Good Start For Nursing?
One of the best ways to begin your nursing career is by becoming a CNA. CNAs often perform many of the same functions that nurses do. It’s their job to assist nurses in whatever way the nurse deems them fit to do.
The nurse serves in a supervisory capacity, often advising them and correcting them on how to complete their various duties. Because of this, being a CNA represents a great way to gain more clinical nursing experience as you learn from an expert in a hands-on manner.
Because CNAs have a nurse observing their work, they can then correct and improve the ways in which they perform in their role. CNAs often care for ill, injured, or disabled patients, gaining valuable experience performing tasks they’ll have to do often as a nurse.
In many healthcare facilities, patients under care are likely to encounter a CNA more often than other types of medical professionals because they perform so many roles at the facility.
CNAs can serve in multiple different nursing types with the profession, including:
- Forensic nursing
- Military nursing
- Oncology nursing
- Pediatric nursing
- Volunteer pediatric nursing
Does Being a CNA Prepare You?
A CNA absolutely helps you prepare for nursing school. It can help you learn the fundamentals of nursing management while observing and learning from a clinical nurse specialist. You can also be a CNA while attending nursing school.
You’ll get hands-on experience learning skills you’ll later need on a daily basis as a registered nurse (RN). Because every patient and every day is different, you’re almost guaranteed to pick up a new skill or piece of knowledge every day as a CNA.
Being a CNA before nursing school helps you apply the concepts and practices you’ll have to master during your education. It strengthens your knowledge and experience so that when your all-important tests and examinations come up, you’ll have more background information to draw on.
The bottom line is that CNA experience will make you a stronger nursing candidate by bolstering your nursing education and forcing you to practically apply the principles you learned in school.
Is Being a CNA Harder Than Being a Nurse?
In some ways, being a CNA can be more challenging than being a nurse. Below is a list of some of the activities CNAs participate in as they assist nurses with their daily obligations:
- Re-positioning patients who are injured or disabled
- Collecting supplies for a nurse or doctor
- Checking a patient’s vital signs
- Responding to patient requests for assistance
- Bathing patients
- Documenting information from incoming or existing patients
- Performing routine grooming activities for patients such as shaving or brushing teeth
- Cleaning hospital rooms and linens
- Restocking medical supplies
- Prepping rooms for new patients
That isn’t a comprehensive list, but it shows that many CNA duties are very physically demanding in nature. While it can be challenging, it does prepare one for life as a nurse with valuable, on-the-job nursing experience.
It’s the type of experience that future employers will find extremely valuable on a resume when you aim to become a nurse. You don’t have to be a CNA before being a nurse, but it’s a great way to acclimate yourself to the profession.
Training For Nursing Experience
It’s apparent that becoming a CNA is one of the most reliable and effective ways to gain more nursing experience. But that means you’ll have to understand how to become a CNA and have access to certified nursing assistant programs that can help train you for that nursing experience.
Southern Careers Institute has those training programs in place. We can guide you on your path to becoming a CNA, a position that will eventually lead you to many more opportunities in nursing. It’s a career path with solid job security and dependable, stable wages.
Before starting that journey, however, you’ll need training and education to become a CNA. We guide you through the process of getting the valuable informational tools you’ll need to jump start your career. Becoming a CNA is a great idea no matter where you are in your pre-nursing career.
Whether you’re preparing for nursing school, attending nursing school, or looking for a bridge to the nursing profession, it will help give you the skills, experience and knowledge you need to be successful. Starting a job as a CNA opens up a larger world of multiple opportunities in the nursing profession.
Through our easily accessible CNA program, you can start your career off in the right direction. Let SCI help you on your new path leading to the transformation of a new you! Ignite your passion for change and contact SCI about its training programs today!
Blog Disclaimer: Information stated in this blog is for general information purposes only. SCITexas.edu not assume or guarantee income earning potential or salary expectations based on the programs offered at Southern Careers Institute.
This article was published on: 02/13/20 2:54 PM
* SCI does not guarantee employment or a starting salary upon graduation, completion, or withdrawal from SCI. As an accredited post-secondary institution, SCI has various federal financial assistance programs available for students who qualify and are enrolled in SCI programs. This does not apply to seminar students.