CNA and Hospital Orderly: Launch Positions To Nursing Careers
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CNA and Hospital Orderly: Launch Positions To Nursing Careers

"To be a nurse or not to be," is a question many have asked but have failed to research to completion. The nursing field is wide open and growing exponentially - with no sign of abating. However, not everyone is qualified or made to be a nurse. Thankfully, there are two definite ways to help make the decision - by securing entry-level jobs serving as launch positions to nursing. Being a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or hospital orderly are sure ways to know, "do I have what it takes?"

Today, there are few careers which have so much promise as the health/medical field.  However, for physicians, current uncertainties in this field are causing prospective and actively practicing physicians to re-think their career choices. 

Exorbitant expenses associated with this prestigious field, are responsible for propelling graduating students into debt to the tune of an average of $156,000.  For many, the fact of not being able to be employed in their years as students, adds to the frustrating situation.

However, students considering nursing careers, do not typically find themselves in the deplorable financial state as do medical students.  They have other choices. This overview of two such choices may aid the reader in making the important decision as to whether or not nursing is for him/her.

It is this writer's opinion that the definitive manner to determine on a career choice, is to begin at an entry-level position.  In the field of nursing, there are two launch positions available which can help determine if nursing is the right career path.  These doors of opportunity, are known as being a hospital orderly and/or Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).

Hospital Orderly:

Having began as a hospital orderly may have been a humbling job, but it has been a priceless experience for many physicians, nurses and other health-related professionals. Mopping up floors, helping transport patients who are in various stages of illness, including death, and cleaning up for the next patient may help make the determination of career choice.

The salary may be meager at times, but this position will help determine a student's propensity for working in a hospital environment.  In addition, this job requires very little preparation or training of any kind.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA):

Coming nearest to the actual profession of nursing is the field of CNA. Typically, receiving no salary until time of actual employment, a CNA, however, is virtually guaranteed immediate employment at graduation. 

Unlike a hospital orderly, CNAs are required to pay upfront for training. However, generally a CNA will be able to secure financial arrangements at the vocational school, health care facility school or community college environment of training.    

Aided by these secured loans at the accrediting school or agency, expenses are reasonably affordable; unlike the almost prohibitive medical school expenses for aspiring physicians.

Today, most courses offered to a CNA certification are on convenient online and/or on-site campus courses.  Typically, comprehensive training requirements may include the following: changing beds, applying topical medications and dressings, feeding, transferring and bathing mobile, semi-mobile or completely immobile patients.  Also required, is full skill and observation in taking/reporting both vital signs and clinical observations to a supervising nurse.  

Pre-Nursing Decisions

As they finish their CNA education, candidates will be in a better and more advantageous position to determine if nursing is for them, or not.  Also, if they should opt for being a Licensed Nurse (LP) or a Registered Nurse (RN).

Additionally,CNAs will have to determine other vitally important factors such as: choosing learning environments, the length of course study, various methods of financing the course and further career choices after reaching the immediate career goal.  

Typically, CNA salaries begin at above minimum wage; however, this is dependent on experience, any special training and individual state requirements. Today, many Internet job websites report beginning earnings at the $24,117 level. (1)

However, a CNA upon graduation, may decide to go on to become a Registered Nurse (RN); who typically earns a beginning salary of $40,000.


All photos are courtesy of Morgulefile

Written by Beverly Anne Sanchez, April 2012

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Comments (3)

Interesting details on nursing. Thank you Ann. Always supporting you.

My youngest son is a nursing graduate but never pass the board exams, shaaring to him, thanks Beverly.

Thank you both gentlemen, Paulose and mi hermano Ron.  Ron, I don't know how it is in the Phillipines, but most of our hospitals here have full Filipino staffs of nurses.