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Future NP or PA Advice: Phlebotomy or CNA job for experience?

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poshdoctor

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Okay, so I am about 70% sure that I want to enter a entry-level MSN program (CSU Fullerton preferably:) ) I am currently at Sophomore in university.

I am interested in completing either a CNA or Phlebotomy program over the summer so I can gain experience in health care.

The CNA program is about $1,000 cheaper than the Phlebotomy program, however I am leaning towards the Phlebotomy program for some reason. Poking people seems like fun, while being a CNA seems kinda boring.

Which program do you suggest if I plan on become a NP? Also which do you think looks better to the admission committee?

Thanks :) :) :)
 

RockFoot

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If you are interested in working as a phleb without the education cost look into working for a source plasma collection center. They will hire you without training (they did me) and the train you on initiating venipuncture. You won't be a certified phlebotomist but it should count, as most of us know, work experience>training/certification.
 

Dranger

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CNA

CNA get way more direct patient interaction/care than a phleb. Phlebs stick and vacutain then they are out the door to the lab.
 

blahoslovennyy

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Phlebotomy is fine, and being a CNA can really suck, but I agree with Dranger.

Being a CNA is messy and definitely not "posh," but being a CNA (if you work in a hospital) you will get a better understanding of how the hospital works (who does what, the rhythm of the day.) When you start out with lots and lots of patient contact it will help you find out if this is something that you really want to spend all of this time and money to do, and it will help with your clinical judgement later on.
 

poshdoctor

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@blahoslovennyy & @Dranger

But isn't being a CNA just doing what the nurses don't have time to do? To me it seems like I won't be using my mind, I'll just be changing beds and diapers. (I don't have a problem with that at all)

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but won't phlebotomy allow me to gain more knowledge of medical/nursing terms if I plan on becoming a NP?

Thanks :)
 

MedPsy82

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If your looking for patient experience you are going to want CNA more, phlebotomy will not give you more experience with patients or medical term knowledge. If your worried about learning nursing terms then you want to be a CNA (Certified Nurses Assistant) imo. You will have to use, or at least be around, those terminologies more frequent as a CNA. Phlebotomy will probably give you more experience with drawing blood, but that will be about it.

CNA Job Description

Phlebotomy Job Description
 

The right Path

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I agree with the previous posters that working as a CNA would give you better access to more relevant patient interactions, more exposure to medical terms and patient care in general. Depending on how proactive you are, as well as the general culture of your immediate working environment, you could develop relationships with nursing and medical staff that can help mentor you and include you in interesting diagnoses/treatments, etc. You could ideally choose the department that interests you most- endocrine, ortho, ICU, etc., or if you don't know, work in the float pool.

As a phlebotomist, you would learn the most basic anatomy of a vein, the names of certain serology tests and which colored-top tube they go in. Your patient/staff interactions would be transient and brief. You get in, get your blood, and push your cart to the next job and then it is back to the lab. And that is even if you work in an inpatient setting. Without a lot of experience, you're more likely to land a job in a satellite lab collection center like Unilab or Quest (and that's if you're lucky- it's difficult to land your first job as a noob phlebotomist).

That said, however, if you don't like the idea of exposure to unpleasant bodily functions/fluids/secretions, if you consider helping people with the necessary basic hygienic tasks to be complete scutwork/drudgery.... well then being a CNA isn't a good choice for you. As far as being intellectually challenging, you'd find that neither job fits that description, though you could certainly find either job rewarding in their own ways.

Good luck to ya.
 

Dranger

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@blahoslovennyy & @Dranger

But isn't being a CNA just doing what the nurses don't have time to do? To me it seems like I won't be using my mind, I'll just be changing beds and diapers. (I don't have a problem with that at all)

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but won't phlebotomy allow me to gain more knowledge of medical/nursing terms if I plan on becoming a NP?

Thanks :)

Ya CNA jobs usually blow but you have a lot more access to review charts, collaborate with clinicians, review meds, conditions, disease pathways and their subsequent treatments.RNs and PCPs are always around for info and advice. Phlebs float around and stick people. I know of no nursing terms a phleb would be exposed to that a CNA would not.
 

Themanatee

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I'm with everyone else on suggesting you go the CNA route. It will get you far more in the thick of things than you would as a phlebotomist. There's just so much to learn about how hospitals work and the weird cultures that exist within health care. You'll also absolutely have to use your brain - you'll be interacting with patients and they have a gift for making even the simplest tasks bizarrely complicated.

Being a CNA also puts you at the lowest link of the chain of command and I personally think that's a good experience for someone who wants to eventually be near the top. It can give you a lot of insight into what it's like to be the one receiving the orders instead of giving them. You'll get to work with other clinicians and can keep an ongoing mental list of which behaviors you'd like to emulate and which you'll vow never to do.

That said, it's a hard job. Being a phlebotomist is probably substantially easier and more relaxing.
 

popopopop

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@blahoslovennyy & @Dranger

But isn't being a CNA just doing what the nurses don't have time to do? To me it seems like I won't be using my mind, I'll just be changing beds and diapers. (I don't have a problem with that at all)

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but won't phlebotomy allow me to gain more knowledge of medical/nursing terms if I plan on becoming a NP?

Thanks :)

If you don't think you'll have to change bed pans as a nurse, you're terribly mistaken. I rely on my CNA for many things, and ironically the most important task of all - vital signs. You will gain good bedside manner experiences and will put you in a great position to get connections for an RN job. A phlebotomist in my hospital is as foreign to me as a patient transporter or xray tech. They don't really know what's going on with a patient, nor do they interact with the nurses.
 

bayarea15

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I am a cna, and I second everyones comments above. If you are gonna be an np, you would fare better to start at the bottom, watch the nurses and get to know your patients. If you can't handle doing dirty work, then I don't think you should be a pheleb either cause that's dealing with blood which can be lots more dangerous than pee and poop.

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