Why I Did Not Become A CNA Before Nursing School

Hello all! This is will be a quick post explaining why I did not become a CNA before nursing school. I am beginning my school’s program in the fall and I do not have to explain this to anyone, but I am sharing my experience to and through nursing school and this is a part of it.


Many students getting ready to enter nursing school, consider becoming a CNA, PCT, or something similar to that. It would be a great experience to get your feet into healthcare, become more comfortable with patients, etc. However, these are the reasons I never did obtain my CNA!


I was too young.

I had two chances to obtain my CNA for free. First, when during my senior year of high school; however, I graduated at 16 and the age requirement was around 18. My second opportunity was after my second year of my internship-style program, which you can read about here. I declined this offer as well because I would be out of the country during the course. I also would not have much time to put the certificate to good use.

It is not necessary.

You may roll your eyes when reading this, but it is the truth, it is completely optional (at least for my program). My program does not care if you have one or not, its not even a part of the application process.  Granted, I will look pretty dumb when learning to clean patients and such, but its all a part of the learning process for me and will not impede me from becoming a nurse. Since, I could not be directly involved in patient care, I am volunteering which has allowed me to communicate with patients, and their families. I also get to spend a lot of time observing nurses, CNAs, clinical, instructors, and just the whole dynamic of the hospital floor! I also had a good amount of clinical experience from my internship-style program. Both my volunteering and internship-style program were done with my local health system, so I have managed to stay in the system and plan on continuing in the system.

I ended up with a job. 

That’s right! I am now working part-time at a non-profit, children’s establishment and I love it! This paired with being a Child Life volunteer has made me so happy and I thoroughly enjoy it! This job is very flexible and is only weekend job, which has been working out perfectly for me. It allows me to still gain a little money for food, gas and personal items, but also gives me time to complete all of my school work.

This is a short post, but I just wanted to encourage my fellow students who are entering nursing school that it is okay to not be a CNA. I know it can be intimidating, because many of my peers who are CNAs brag, but just remember not every nurse was a CNA at one time.

Did you become a CNA before nursing school? If so, how did it help you and if you didn’t how did it affect you?



3 thoughts on “Why I Did Not Become A CNA Before Nursing School

  1. It’s true that you can learn those skills as you go, but more and more schools are requiring the course as a pre-req to nursing programs now. I believe soon it will be a requirement for just about all schools in the near future. I have also worked along side many an RN who either had it and worked as a CNA prior and those who did not – and believe me, you can usually tell. The ones that have been CNAs in the past often work better in a team and have a wider view of the big picture – i.e a better understanding of the flow of the floor and how the team works in general.
    I have worked as a Nurse Tech in a hospital setting, as well as been a supervisor/educator in a hospital setting, and worked alongside an ambulance service as a superintendent that trained cadets. Trust me, you can tell the difference in the nurses that don’t get their CNAs first. You can also often tell the difference in nurses that skipped the ADN/ASN level and went straight for a BSN, because their attitudes about nursing are often different. In addition to that, a lot of nurses that go straight for a BSN, side-stepping the “real world” (non-student) experience are often in for a shock when they hit the real world jobs for the first time. A lot of people quit nursing after they have already graduated with a BSN.
    All this to say, it’s not impossible to become an AWESOME nurse if you haven’t been a CNA first, but there are implications to it that you should make sure you are cognizant of when you haven’t been. Does that make sense? You don’t want to end up being the nurse no one wants to work with because you don’t have the healthy respect for CNAs and your team in general as you should. Working from the ground up, as it were, goes a looooong way in that respect… and your classmates that already have that experience do, in fact, have a leg up in that area.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Anna! 100% agree with not needing to be a CNA before a nurse. You learn off of so many people on placements who share tips and tricks with you to help you along. At the end of the day, regardless of if someone was a CNA or not, you all graduate with the same qualifications and credentials ! All the best with your studies !

    Liked by 1 person

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