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Failed out of medical school (at end of 2nd year)- effect on PA application?

Discussion in 'Clinicians [ RN / NP / PA ]' started by paprospect, Aug 23, 2008.

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  1. paprospect

    paprospect

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    I just failed out of medical school, failed too many classes 4th semester. At my medical school basic sciences is made up of 4 semesters thus I failed at the very end of basic sciences.

    Because of personal and financial reasons, I've decided to abandon the medical school route and am interested in applying to PA school.

    I've basically studied Anatomy, Physiology, Biochem, Pharm, Path, Micro and did fair in those classes (with the exception of my 4th semester).

    My case is probably fairly unique but how will that "background" affect my application to PA school?

    Also, another question- do most PA schools have lectures on powerpoint to download? Just wondering b/c my study style relies heavily on the use of powerpoint slides.
  2. bradt9881

    bradt9881

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    PA school is challenging, but what we study is not as in depth as the material in medical school. Your problem is convincing an ADCOM to admit you with your circumstances. Our acceptance rates mirror those of medical schools, with around 3-10% of the applicants at a school per cycle being accepted. My school had 350 applications for 34 seats. Program directors want to make sure that the people they admit can finish the program; the PAEA tracks failures and a program can end up on probation if attrition is too high.

    Do I personally think your chances are good? No. But my opinion doesn't matter:D. If you are determined to try, go for broke. I would suggest contacting the admissions coordinator for a few schools and see what their opinion is; they know what type applications are accepted for their school.

    The other thing to keep in mind is medical school prereqs are not the same as PA school. There is a lot of overrlap but each PA school is a bit different. In my applications, I needed statistics for every school I applied for, organic chem I for most, organic chem II for a few, biochem for about half, genetics for a few, and immunology for one program.

    https://portal.caspaonline.org/faq/ins_programs.htm

    The link will take you to the application portal for CASPA where each participating PA program's link is stored so you can check to see if you meet the qualifiactions for a school you are interested in, and give you the point of contact for the school admissions.

    http://www.physicianassistantforum.com/forums/

    This is also a better forum for issues about PA school and PAs in general. Most of my classes used power point lectures, but a few of the older MDs teaching only lectured from the podium. Good luck!
  3. dfk

    dfk Removed

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    why even bother letting PA schools know this.
    just go in as a "new" applicant.
    then, kick butt in school.
    you'll be the king!
  4. DocNusum

    DocNusum "Heretic"... and "Kafirun

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    Why...???

    Because it can be viewed as academic DISHONESTY...:(

    They are NOT stupid... and can spot a Med student from a mile away... and generally don't look kindly upon being seen as a "fall back" or "settled for"...

    Once they look at the transcripts... they will likely KNOW that this person failed out of MD/DO school... or simply ask about the "gaps" (what were you doing during this time?)...

    As soon as they ask about the "gaps" and this person answers with ANY response other than the fact that they failed out of MD/DO school... academic DISHONESTY comes into play...:oops:

    We had 2 people dismissed from our program for academic DISHONESTY and we only had 3 months to go...!!!!:scared::scared:

    My suggestion is to tighten up the GPA, write a kick ***** personal statement, and be thoroughly prepared to explain why you didn't complete MD/DO school.
  5. bradt9881

    bradt9881

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    If he ever got caught lying, he would be screwed. Getting kicked out of PA school after failing med school is not something you want on a resume unless you are flipping burgers for Ronald McDonald, he won't care;).....
  6. lapelirroja

    lapelirroja Physician Assistant

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    Yeah, it's not a very good profession for a backup plan... I would look into some other fields as well. Ditto the prereq/experience concern.
  7. UCFMOP

    UCFMOP

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    Go for it man. I know a girl who was pre-med until the mcat gave her a score lowering than her age and now shes in PA school. It seems to me alot of people who were lukewarm pre-meds are now doing PA school or pre-PA.
  8. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc2B2015

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    look, you want to be an md, just go to the caribean....
    very few folks with your story get into pa school....they are looking for a different type of applicant than the typical medstudent....
  9. Sunfire

    Sunfire

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    :laugh:
  10. bradt9881

    bradt9881

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    For some of us, even if we max the MCAT it will still be lower than our age:D.
  11. lapelirroja

    lapelirroja Physician Assistant

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    And I doubt that any of them will be happy as PAs. It's very sad. They are two different professions...
  12. UCFMOP

    UCFMOP

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    But at least you can get to see patients and diagnose diseases. And the patients will think you are a doctor anyways.

    Personally I think PA school is a great deal. Only 2 years post-college and you have prescription rights! Not to mention great job security, pay and at least you get to help people.
  13. Shinken

    Shinken Family Medicine

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    No offense, but perhaps this was a big reason you failed out during your 2nd year of med school.

    Powerpoint slides are not the best resources for study, just outlines to guide your study by using other, more in-depth resources. Do not rely "heavily" on powerpoint slides in either med school or PA school (if you decide to go the PA route). Of course, it's too late for that now. Perhaps I'm assuming you didn't use other resources, and if that's the case I apologize in advance.

    Good luck with your plans. If becoming a PA will satisfy you professional goals, then go for it. Just be honest and ethical and don't hide your past. Also, get a lot of information about the PA profession so that you don't set yourself up for disappointment.
  14. Shinken

    Shinken Family Medicine

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    You sound like the average ignorant pre-allo referring to DOs! :D

    Sorry, couldn't resist. Just kiddin'. Carry on.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
  15. UCFMOP

    UCFMOP

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    Hey I know more than everyone, I am a pre-med.

    (actually I am applying to MSU-COM, so I could be a DO)
  16. Sunfire

    Sunfire

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    To the OP, why not just apply to med school again? You only lost a year, and now you know better what you'll need to do in order to succeed.

    UCFMOP, here are recent accounts of duties that some experienced PAs have taken to task.

    "UNRESPONSIVE 5 YR OLD WITH GASTROENTERITIS X SEVERAL WEEKS
    SKIING ACCIDENT ? HIP/PELVIS FX
    CERVICAL DISC BULGE/NECK PAIN
    N/V/D
    HEADACHE
    PNEUMONIA WITH HYPOTENSION/TACHYCARDIA
    abscess
    ankle fx
    mono
    CHEST PAIN/TACHYCARDIA( ? METH)
    lymphadenopathy
    n/v
    cellulitis"


    "Spoke with a pts wife about non-survivable brain injury but how he would not progress to brain death due to the fact that his brain was herniating out of his decompressive craniectomy incision but yes, he could be a non-heart beating donor. Pt goes down to OR per protocol and does not stop breathing in 90mins--max time for low perfusion for Gift of Life. Now, can no longer be a donor--families only wish--he is brought back to his ICU room and dies within 5 mins.

    Treated another pt in the ICU that tests my devotion to treating all pts equally without judgement BUT this pt is an accomplice to stealing a vaccum cleaner, travels the wrong direction on one of THE busiest local highways in the area, hits another car head-on killing the driver of that car--a newlywed of 3 months, an only child and 1 month pregnant who had told her mom the day prior she was gong to be a grandma by giving her a T shirt she will never get to wear. Because the trauma team did such a great job with massive resuscitation, ED thoracotomy for aortic cross clamp before the OR, she will live. Makes you question the justice of it all.....

    Participated in great discussion of mixed acid base disturbances, Winter's formula, delta gap, urine anion gap.."


    "1-rounded on 5 in-patients (mostly post-ops of ours and some consults)
    2-clinic 945-until noon. off early on Fridays since I work so much the rest of the week (sometimes).
    pt #1 - post-op voiding trial (after a lap robotic prostatectomy i 1st assisted 8d prior ) cath removal, staples out.
    pt#2 - packed a vesicocutaneous fistula in a pt with extensive TCC of bladder w rectus invasion
    pt#3 - did a proc called uroplasty in a pt with refractory OAB. insert a small needle (almost like an acupuncture needle) near the tibial nn. let pt sit for 30 min. similar to sacral nn root stim. but less invasive. 1x per week for 12w. its her 3rd treatment - we'll see how she does."
  17. UCFMOP

    UCFMOP

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    Yeah that is great and all but a doctor could do that and more.

    You see, the reason why I don't like the profession of physician extenders is that PAs and NPs would not be necessary if there were enough doctors.

    It is kinda like a mechanic. You have a mechanic and due to the shortages of mechanics and the right to see one, access, blah blah blah, we need mechanic assistants to help deliver mechanical care okay whatever. And the Mechanic's Assistant is born. MAs go through only 2 months training instead of 7 months and can change your oil, rotate tires and run diagnostics. But the reality is that both the mechanic and the MA fill the same hole but the mechanic is more trained and more qualifed. So really, the MA is compeletly unnessecary as long as there are enough mechanics.

    The danger here is that the MA does not know the limit of his training, in other words the eye can not see what the mind does not know. A MA could miss something while exaiming the car. It is not his fault, his training simply did not cover as much and as in depth as the mechanic.

    Sunfire, I know you are a stuanch defender of PAs, you will use that passion to provide the best care for your patients. But that same drive to be the best will hinder your career becuase you will have a doctor's atittude (may come off as arrogant) in a PAs body. In other words, your pride will be your achilles heel. I say with no animosity that you are most needed as a doctor with that passion, not a PA.
  18. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc2B2015

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    for the better programs it is more than "2 yrs post college" because you need professional health care experience which involves other training and time on the job. 1 of the better programs( U.Wa) requires a min of 2 yrs professional experience(4000 hrs) and the avg accepted applicant last yr had 4 yrs(8000 hrs).
    my pathway is fairly typical:
    emt in high school senior yr.
    er tech through college 24 hrs/week and full time(+) during summers while getting BS#1 from university of ca
    paramedic school 1 yr
    (5 yrs work as a medic)
    3 yr pa program (BS#2)
    start work as a pa after 9 yrs post college experience, 4 of it in school.
    1 yr masters in clinical em, thesis published in peer reviewed journal.
    1 yr postmasters program in family and emergency med.
    total time comittment post college to this point: 11 yrs, 6 in school.
    ?MPH or Dhsc in the next decade. would still consider a postgrad pa residency(www.appap.org) if local and convenient. could happen as new ones are starting every yr.
  19. Taurus

    Taurus Paul Revere of Medicine

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    You have to admit that working decent hours and getting paid a nice salary (overtime if you go over 40 hours) isn't such a bad way of getting experience.

    It's not like you guys are working 100+ hours/week, arrive at the hospital at 5 am and leave at 7 pm everyday, on call every 4 days, and getting paid 40k with no overtime.
  20. Sunfire

    Sunfire

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    UCFMOP,

    I thank you for your confidence. I don't want to be a Doctor, I want to be a PA. That decision comes after much serious contemplation. PAs are highly valuable assets, and they most often free Doctors to concentrate on cases that require more time and energy.

    I was an EMT for 7 years before applying to PA school, and have experience in Alzheimer's care, pediatric ICU, geriatric medicine, and emergency medicine. This profession is perfect for my age and path, to practice medicine along with a Physician as a Physician Assistant. PA school is very competitive, and I'm proud to have been accepted.

    I understand...you're learning and feeling your way through things. My advice to you is to concentrate on your own studies, and keep your mind open to all that you'll be learning.

    And trust me, my passion will be needed no matter what profession I could have chosen. I'm a passionate person, especially when it comes to enabling others to live their lives in the most optimal degree of health possible.

    Doctors are not the only creatures on this earth who operate in confidence.

    Sf
  21. silas2642

    silas2642 silas2642

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    So if you reapplied to your medical school, you'd have to start all over again from year 1?
  22. bradt9881

    bradt9881

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    When you decide you are willing to work on Native American Indian reservations, rural Kansas where the next city is 2 hours away, do the scut work on a permanent basis for surgeons and hospitalists, and there is no longer a need for my job, I will be glad to retire. Until then,maybe you should focus on getting into medical school and learn what a midlevel can do to make your life easier before you make yourself look bad.

    I may not be trained to take care of every contingency. Neither is the family doc who has to consult the cardiologist, the neurosurgeon that has to consult the endocrinologist, or the resident who has to consult the attending. The trick is, I do know that I don't know it all, and I will have a supervising physician that I will consult if needed.

    Good luck with the MCATS and applications.
  23. San_Juan_Sun

    San_Juan_Sun Professor of Life

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    I'm too lazy (or is it tired?) to look up the reference myself, but it's commonly thrown around on these forums that physician extenders are not any more likely to practice in underserved, rural areas. Maybe my boy Taurus has the citation.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm cool with PAs that practice in the traditional, collaborative model. But PAs/NPs are just like everyone else in that most follow the money and prefer to live in less rural populations. An important point I think, considering the propaganda that some (I'm looking at you Mundinger) toss out there.

    ps- Quit picking on the pre-meds. Taking the low hanging fruit don't make you a superstar, know what I mean?
  24. bradt9881

    bradt9881

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    Its not like I went into the pre-med board area and started slinging. When that pre-med comes into the area midlevels post in, tells us he doesn't like us, and alludes that we don't have the common sense to know the limits of our training, he deserves a bit of picking on;).
  25. dfk

    dfk Removed

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    :thumbup:
  26. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc2B2015

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    I wish I got overtime. I got overtime as a medic but not as an er tech. I now work for an independent em group and no one gets overtime regardless of hrs worked. docs and pa's do get a night differential( 5/hr woo-hoo) but this month for example I am scheduled to work 216 hrs at straight pay including several 16 hr swing/night shifts in which it is not uncommon to see around 50 pts of mixed acuity.
    no call though, that's true. I had call at a prior job( 2 nights/week and 1 weekend/mo) which was 1 reason I left that job. many surgical pa's do work 80+ hrs/week in addition to call but that's why they make the big bucks.
  27. Taurus

    Taurus Paul Revere of Medicine

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    You are correct and it is also common sense. If physicians don't want to go there, why would NP's or PA's? It is also what the studies have shown. core0 has posted citations on this in the past.
  28. bradt9881

    bradt9881

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    I have no doubt its 100% true. I am throwing out the CVs now, and despite trying hard for a family practice position, the interest is coming from internal med specialties that are not close to being rural.

    With 70K in debts from PA school, you gotta go where the jobs are....
  29. primadonna22274

    primadonna22274 Senior Member

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    Back to the OP's question: I think it will be an uphill battle convincing any PA program of why you'll succeed there when you failed out of med school.
    It won't be easy. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try.
    HOWEVER, I echo the sentiments of my colleagues who say you cannot expect to succeed in PA school with the same study strategy that DID NOT WORK in medical school.
    Yes, we do cover the same material but in less depth than in medical school. There is no room to fall behind. You will probably be at *some* advantage in PA school in that you've ostensibly had this material before. I assume you learned some of it (I hope so...maybe much more than some). Still, it's gonna be a tough gig to gain admission with a med school failure on your record.
    DEFINITELY DO NOT FAIL TO DISCLOSE YOUR PRIOR MATRICULATION INTO, AND FAILURE IN, MEDICAL SCHOOL. This will only cause you heartbreak and wasted time and money later and much animosity. Should you somehow slip between the cracks and manage to graduate and get licensed, you could still be accused of academic dishonesty AFTER the fact and lose your license. Not worth it. And really, what kind of job could you work that you could afford to repay the loans of 2 years medical school + 2 years PA school without working in the field? It would be really really tough.
    I do think it's worth finding a few programs you'd be willing to attend and talking with the admissions counselor about your options.
    I wish you the best of luck if your motives are sincere.
    L.
  30. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc2B2015

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    30% of pa's work in areas with population < 50,000
    source:
    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001935.htm

    I currently work a rural per diem position 1 weekend/mo at a critical access hospital and when the kids are older hope to do rural em full time. the truth of the matter is that although I really enjoy it it pays a lot less than my regular job( $23/hr less...). with mortgage paid off and kids college bills paid I could live on it but not right now.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
  31. core0

    core0 Which way is the windmill

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    Actually the discussion was primary care versus specialty care. If you are looking soley at underserved areas then there is no good data. If you are discussing rural areas there is some pretty good data. 12% of PAs work in non-metropolitan areas compared to around 9% of physicians. The more important figure is that 1% of PAs are working in non-metro areas <2500 pop that are not adjacent to metropolitan areas. This is a population that probably cannot be served by physicians at the current salary expectations.

    The average salary for rural FP PAs is around $80k while the average FP physician salary is around $150k (depending on your sources). Given that the average rural FP salary is less for both PAs and Physicians there is still a enough difference between the PA and Physician salary to mean the difference between profitability and survival for a rural FP clinic.

    There has been a percentage increase in PAs going into specialty medicine however with the increase in the number of programs the number of PAs in primary care still continues to increase slowly. This is heavily influenced by a few programs that not only produce a large amount of primary care PAs but rural primary care PAs in the areas the programs exist in (rural CA, WA and the plains states). The secret to recruiting rural providers is to recruit them from rural areas and train them in those areas. PA schools require much less infrastructure than medical schools and can be done with less resources.

    Back to the OP. The fact that you failed out of medical school is going to be a huge red flag to any program. Trying to hide it will eventually come around and bite you. Not saying not to try but you have several strikes against you.

    David Carpenter, PA-C
  32. bradt9881

    bradt9881

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    My own program, straight out of their admissions requirements, states:
    1. No history of dismissal from another PA, medical, or nursing school for academic or disciplinary reasons.
    Thats the reason the OP needs to call each admissions POC and research each school to make sure they are not wasting their money applying; I am sure my school is not unique in this requirement....
  33. jbar

    jbar Senior Member

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    Not sure I back the caribean route if you've failed out of a mainland school. From what I've heard from people who go down there, the schools are easy to get into but they try to fail many many people out so only the top students even get to sit for the boards. If you failed out of a mainland school, chances wouldn't look great for doing well in the super competitive carib schools.

    Some of it is going to come down to why the OP failed out. Not asking them to disclose, but there is a big difference between "my mom died and I just couldn't focus" and "I couldn't do the work even though I was trying really hard." I suprised the school didn't let the OP repeat the semester, wondering if they were on probation for something else but then again schools vary in how strict they are on passing.
  34. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc2B2015

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    my point is that the op wants to be a physician. clearly they need to do that as opposed to trying to get into pa as their backup. in all likelihood they would not get into pa school anyway as it is very competitive now and if they did they would always wish they were a doc instead(assuming they were able to pass pa school and enter practice which is very much in doubt as they already failed out of a program with similar structure and demands on their time.)
  35. KeeganN

    KeeganN

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    Way to quote an article you found on the AMA website, but if you actually knew much about the profession of nursing you would realize that many, many nurses have nursing assistant experience before even getting in to nursing school, then they have clinicals in nursing school, while many works as NAs throughout nursing school as well, and then a vast majority work as RNs for many years before pursuing an NP or DNP. This is a lot of practical experience and involves a high level of responsibility because you are solely responsible for your patient while on shift, whereas med students, residents, and often even fellows I've worked with in practice round with their team and don't really have to make many decisions on their own until they are higher up in the ranks. I do realize the decisions made by a doctor and by a nurse are very different, I'm just trying to explain that DNPs often have a lot of practical training in the health care field beyond what is officially required. Honestly I think the DNP degree is fairly ridiculous myself and I believe it is a response of advanced practice nurses who are sick of physicians demeaning their training. The whole doctor-nurse conflict is so inane and useless--we all have the same goal of helping out patients, what is the point in arguing about who is better? A PhD is also called a doctor, but has far different training, this is the same idea. It is a doctorate in nursing and I agree DNPs should not introduce themselves as doctors, but in my experience most APNs are very good about explaining their role because they empathize with their patient's confusion with the health care system.
  36. core0

    core0 Which way is the windmill

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    First in the bottom right hand corner there is something called the "quote" button. Push that before you start typing and we can figure out who you were responding to.

    I bolded some stuff for you. Do you have any data to show this is true? Depending on where you look as many as 10% of NPs are currently in MEPN programs. Anectdotally there have been statements that nurses are approaching NP school with less nursing experience.

    David Carpenter, PA-C
  37. Farmer Jane

    Farmer Jane Anti-ANA RN

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    I don't know what percentage of RNs worked as CNAs, but it's really irrelevant. I worked as a CNA during college, and while it was a beneficial experience as far as time management and patient interaction, the role is absolutely nothing like that of an RN. Honestly, it's kind of insulting to imply that it is.

    In 5+ years as an RN I've never been "solely responsible" for a patient. :rolleyes: I think you're confusing being "present" with being "responsible." The physician does not cease to exist when s/he leaves the unit.
  38. Tired

    Tired Boned. Again.

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    Dec 12, 2006
    Messages:
    7,629
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    I was a CNA too for many years. I remember all the people who told me (and still insist) that being a CNA is "great experience" for becoming a physician. Those people are, of course, retarded. Other than teaching me the basic layout of a hospital and the roles of the various people in it, it didn't do anything for me.

    And yeah, lots of nurses do CNA work in school, because it's an easily available job. But that hardly makes the work comparable.
  39. Farmer Jane

    Farmer Jane Anti-ANA RN

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    354
    Location:
    Brew City
    Status:
    Other Health Professions Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    :nod: Being a CNA makes you comfortable with patients and gets you used to gross stuff. That's about it. I got sick of CNA work (and I developed tendonitis in my shoulder from turning patients on an understaffed night shift) so I worked at Dairy Queen as an assistant manager. The decision making and delegation skills I developed there were actually far more useful than anything I ever learned as a CNA. Plus, I can decorate cakes AND I can make pretty cones on the soft-serve machine in the hospital cafeteria. :)

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