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What are the best starting jobs that lead up to being a registered nurse?

I am a sophomore in high school right now and looking for starting jobs that will help me get to the position of being a registered nurse the fastest.

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Amit’s Answer

Hi Payton,

That’s great to hear that you’re interested in becoming a registered nurse! Here are some starting jobs and steps you can take while you’re still in high school:

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA): Some students get certified and work part-time as nursing assistants while still in high school. This can provide valuable hands-on experience.

Volunteer at Nursing Homes or Hospitals: Some nursing homes hire high school students to work in non-medical capacity without any training. You can also look into volunteering at hospitals.

Internships: Look for internships in healthcare facilities. This can provide you with practical experience and a better understanding of the healthcare environment.

Take Relevant Classes: Prioritize science and math courses, such as biology, statistics, and chemistry. If your high school offers more specialized course options like anatomy and physiology, then enroll in those as well.

Earn Basic Life Support/First Aid Certification: You can gain your first aid and basic life support certifications in high school. People with these credentials can use emergency skills like cardiopulmonary resuscitation in life-threatening situations.

Join HOSA-Future Health Professionals: This organization promotes career opportunities in the healthcare industry. It provides training for students and gets members involved with competition opportunities within local and school chapters.

Remember, these are just starting points. The path to becoming a registered nurse involves several years of education, including undergraduate studies, nursing school, and passing the NCLEX-RN exam. Good luck with your journey! 😊
Thank you comment icon I appreciate you taking the time to answer this. Payton
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is amazing! I really needed it. Ally
Thank you comment icon Pleasure is mine, For more, you can connect me over Linkedin :) Amit Mittal
Thank you comment icon Anytime Ally :) Amit Mittal
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Doc’s Answer

Payton a good starting point if your wanting to become registered nurses is to volunteer. Becoming a “Candy Striper” is a valuable way to start in the healthcare field. Some of the requirements are to be up-to-date in immunizations, submit a letter of recommendation, and complete an interview. Candy Stripers perform non-medical tasks such as passing out reading materials, assisting visitors to find an area of the hospital or clinic, working in gift shops, and transporting items throughout the hospital. While direct patient care can be limited depending on the facility, it allows the volunteer to observe workflows and experience the day-to-day routine of a specific area of a healthcare facility. Volunteering in the healthcare field can be critical when it comes time to apply to nursing school. Many nursing programs are impacted, meaning there are more applicants than available spots in the program. Some programs count volunteer experience as “points” that may increase a student’s chance of being admitted into the program. Additionally, it will allow you a glimpse into various healthcare settings as a Registered Nurse.

Becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) prior to becoming an Registered Nurse (RN) would also help you transition smoothly from one career path to another. Many people enter into RN careers without knowing exactly what to expect but not when choosing to become a CNA. These professionals work in the same environments and receive training from Registered Nurses, doctors, and other nursing professionals. Working as a CNA also makes it easy to find employment opportunities since CNAs work in the same environment as Registered Nurses do. Employers may likely hire those who are currently working as CNAs for positions as Registered Nurses once they receive their proper RN credentials. A CNA certificate usually lasting between six and 16 weeks, community college or vocational school CNA programs focus on the fundamentals of nursing, such as human anatomy, basic pharmacology, medical terminology, infection control, pathology, nutrition and more. In most cases, community colleges and vocational schools offer CNA courses on campus, online or a combination of both forms to allow flexible scheduling.

Also Payton some hospitals offer CNA training programs focusing on hands-on care and expedited coursework. Hospital-based CNA programs often take less than three months because of the many hours of hands-on experience provided to students. Additionally, a few hospitals may offer CNA training at no charge to students, especially if the need for CNAs is overwhelming at that particular hospital.

Hope this will be helpful
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Doc! Payton
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Jenna’s Answer

I'd highly recommend considering the path of becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). I personally took part in a work-study program that not only allowed me to earn a minimum wage during my class and clinical rotation hours, but also helped me balance my finances. The cost of the course can vary based on where you choose to pursue it.

At the time, I had to work alongside studying, so this program made it possible for me to manage 8-hour workdays while advancing my career. You can start your journey as a CNA as young as 16, but you'll need to be 18 to operate mechanical lifts required for transferring some patients to their chairs, beds, etc.

In my view, this is the most effective way to bolster your nursing school applications. Even though it's not a mandatory requirement for most schools these days, it certainly demonstrates your practical skills. These skills cover a range of daily living activities such as transferring patients, bathing, perineal care, making an occupied bed, feeding, etc.

Nowadays, these skills are integral parts of nursing programs. Having prior knowledge of them can make your nursing course seem like a breeze. The CNA course is typically divided into two parts, each of 75 hours and 150 hours respectively. The first part covers the basics, while the second part delves into more complex procedures like inserting Foley catheters.

Most community colleges that offer nursing programs also provide this course. So, depending on your current status in high school, you could even start this course before graduating in your junior or senior year.

Wishing you all the best in your future pursuits, and I hope you find this advice helpful and encouraging.

Jenna recommends the following next steps:

Enroll in a CNA course.
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Barb’s Answer

Nursing is a very rewarding field! As mentioned in other posts, you could work in a hospital or a doctor's office to gain experience. Volunteering as a "candy striper" is another good choice. You may also reach out to some local hospitals and ask the HR Dept what opportunities they might have to offer. Best of Luck to you!
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