Becoming a CNA in nursing school before becoming a nurse is highly recommended. Let's think on this. You may be fresh out of high school or you are making a career change. With both situations, there have been no exposure to what exactly happens in the nursing field. Some individuals may inspire to be a nurse because they see nurses wearing fashionable scrubs and have job security, but what they do not see is the nurses doing CPR on a deceased patient or dealing with grieving family members.

Did you know?

Some facilities around the U.S. allow nursing students to apply to units as a patient care technician (PCT) without having a CNA license/certification. With this, you must have completed the fundamentals of nursing course and one clincal rotation.


First off, exposure is important. To be able to understand a profession or position, it is recommended to have exposure to that said profession. In nursing school, you may have some experiences, but in reality, it may not be like the real world. As a CNA or PCT, you will learn to have 1 on 1 interactions with your patients. You will understand why it is important to bathe this patient and why "tasks" as a nursing student is actually necessary when being nurse. Your exposure and experience will show that you are ready to be a nurse on your own.

Finding Your Niche

During nursing school's clincal rotations, some universities and colleges are limited to where they allow the students to go. With the students that are allowed to go to certain specialties, they may not get a true feeling of the unit. They may have one or two patients for the duration of the weeks , and with this time, the instructor will inform them to do assessments on the patients for care plans. Well, as a CNA/PCT, the individuals are able to know which unit is best for them as a nurse. Some hospitals allow CNAs to do float pool, which gives them the opportunity to float to different units in the facility. This increases their knowledge on the patient populations. The more opportunities you have, the better you are to find your niche in the unit you desire.


Everyone preys on the CNAs/ PCTs when they know you are in nursing school. Being an employee in a hospital and even in home health will give you a higher opportunity to get a position as a New Grad Nurse. Think about it. You know that unit. You have experience with the staff members and management. Which would be better? Having to get to know someone new or train and orient your employee into their new position. Networking as a CNA overall gives you the ability to get a nurse position before and after graduation. Secure the bag!!

If you all have any advice or experience as a CNA in nursing school, please leave a comment below! Thank you!

~Nurse Bria