She has a medical degree. In fashion! From France!
Dec 31, 2012
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
So, I've been trying to land a job in a hospital for a few months now, was advised to get my CNA certification, which I did, but it hasn't helped much.

I've been applying to PCT/CNA positions, but I keep getting feedback that I need experience. I'm not too keen on working in a nursing home (& not even sure that would be considered clinical experience) & I don't really know what my options are. I guess I should've investigated a bit more, but the HR department from the well-known local children's hospital made it seem like getting my CNA would get me in the door, but still no luck.

Recently, I posted my CV to a job board & got a call from a recruiter to work as a DSP/CNA at a nonprofit organization for the developmentally disabled. The interview went great & I could really see myself working at this place long-term. My question is...& I hate to be "that guy"...but would this count as anything or would I then need to then translate my experience here into an eventual job in a hospital? If it makes any difference, I do have an interest in working with this population.

Thanks for any insight!

Awesome Sauceome

SDN Gold Donor
Gold Donor
5+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2013
In a pine tree
I was in your exact situation. Here are several options that I can give.

1) Apply to private doctors offices that have roughly 2-4 doctors. Reasoning is that if you apply to a very very small place (1 or 2 docs) then they have a core set of people and only take people with tons of experiences- they are wanting to built a "family" type of office that has people that stick with them for a long time. Anything over 4 or 5 doctors and it starts getting too big that you also run in to the situation with the hospitals. I found luck with several places (with 4 docs) working as an medical assistant (I only had my CNA license). What is super nice about private offices is that they will teach you a lot more than you may get at a hospital. For instance at a hospital they would have nurses do some of the jobs that you could do as a CNA or MA at a private office. By the end of my training I was removing stiches, casting, assisting with procedures, taking histories etc, it was awesome. So just flood all of the private offices in your area with your resume, write a nice cover letter and explain that you are interested in gaining valuable experience to help with med school. I got 3 offices who got back to me specifically because the docs there wanted to help me in my journey and they said I sounded very motivated.

2) Work at a nursing home or something equivalent (such as what you have lined up) for 6-9 months and then begin applying to hospital spots. If you are not in a dire need of insurance or benefits, it would behoove you to actually try and get several part time positions at different locations specifically so you can gain a greater variety of skills and its more that you can beef up on your resume. Once you have enough experience that they can check that off their list, the hospitals will be willing to hire you.

That was my experience at least. Best of luck
  • Like
Reactions: sausalito
Jan 9, 2011
I'm working in a senior living community as a CNA and loving every minute of it. Don't get so focused on the presence of physicians and hospital-esque situations that you lose sight of what a valuable experience just helping people with ADLs can be. It absolutely counts as clinical to everyone I've spoken with, and I'm improving my communication skills and general techniques dealing with seniors at various levels of independence. I work specifically with Alzheimer's residents, and they're teaching me a lotin terms of building trust and the power of a positive attitude when unteracting with patients.


MD Class of 2017
5+ Year Member
Jun 21, 2010
Medical Student
I worked as a CNA at a nursing home for 1.5 years during my 2 gap years.
Sep 13, 2011
Try doing private duty. I am currently working as a private duty CNA.


professional improviser
May 22, 2013
I worked as a CNA in a psych dept without any experience going in and loved it. Most psych skills you'd learn on the job anyways as they aren't taught in normal CNA curriculums, so traditional CNA experience (apart from people skills, taking vitals etc) isn't really necessary to start a psych position.
Jun 18, 2010
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I am a PCT in the hospital and got hired without experience. When I finished my CNA, everybody was saying the same thing - you can't get a job in the hospital without experience, you have to work in a nursing home first. But I applied everywhere, went to a couple of interviews and got hired by a manager who really liked me and was willing to train me. I think, with a little bit of luck and persistence, you could land a hospital job. If not, you could work in a nursing home for literally 2-3 months and list that as an experience. Good luck!