Can You Work While in Nursing School – Overview
Students usually work while studying, as a report by Georgetown University shows that almost 80% of college students in the United States work part-time in at least one job. Still, working during nursing school is extra challenging as students have to manage incessant classes, frequent exams, and clinical rounds. This means that most nursing students are not ideally recruited for normal part-time jobs.
On the other hand, if you have sufficient time to spare while studying at a nursing school, then you may be able to apply for the right job, which will enhance your experience and put you ahead of your class.
What Is an Ideal Job to Get While Studying at a Nursing School?
The ideal job for a nursing student would pay significantly for relatively few hours. It would also not be physically taxing and you should be able to choose the work time. In addition, the job should provide health insurance, if not free breakfast and laundry services, as perks.
Realistically, it is unlikely you will find that ideal job. However, there are certain aspects and factors to consider if you want to work while studying nursing:
- Give access to the healthcare industry – A part-time job at a medical-related enterprise can help boost your practical knowledge of how hospitals and other healthcare facilities work.
- Physically comfortable – Nursing classes are demanding, so if you can avoid them, try to get a job that does not require you to stand for long periods of time, as this could eventually affect your stamina and ability to focus in class.
- Flexible working hours – University schedules usually come with crunch periods, which are compounded by irregular clinical rotations and frequent intensive seminars in nursing school. To remedy this, you should seek a job that allows working in flexible shifts or find self-employment.
You may need help getting a job that allows for all the above-listed facilities. Based on your specific situation, you should consider a job ideal if it fulfills at least two of the above criteria.
What Are the Top Jobs to Work at While in Nursing School?
As mentioned above, ideal part-time jobs for nursing students should be flexible and convenient. Here is our selection of the top jobs to work at while in nursing school:
1 – Hospital Clerk
Though it is not a well-paying job, hospital clerks are needed round-the-clock as they help handle the incredible volume of paperwork that a hospital has to process routinely. Working as a hospital clerk, you may have to track test results, communicate with insurance companies, and locate a patient’s past medical records when they come in for Emergency Medical Services, besides providing overall administrative support at outpatient offices.
Working as a hospital clerk is ideal for nursing students because it allows them to rotate between different units and learn the various jargon used by different specialty units. This job also allows you to interact with certified nurses and also strengthen your communication skills.
To work as a hospital clerk, you simply need a high school diploma, while a past in administrative work or office work can help you work better at the job.
2 – Medical Transcriptionist/Medical Scribe
A medical transcriptionist or a medical scribe is in high demand as healthcare providers migrate from paper to electronic health records. Working as a medical transcriptionist involves recording the main findings of a patient’s examination, uploading the results to databases, and logging each patient interaction along with it.
As doctors do not have the time to do this, they send audio recordings with their summaries to a medical transcriptionist who will handle it for them.
Working as a medical transcriptionist is helpful for nursing students because it allows you access to a plethora of healthcare information. You get to know key terms used in the healthcare industry, which are crucial to ace Pathophysiology or Health Assessment.
Additionally, this position also allows you to work from home, which goes perfectly with the irregular schedule of nursing schools. You only require being able to type fast, though some hospitals specifically recruit only nursing or medical students for this position.
3 – Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is required to help nurses care for basic patient needs. This may involve taking the patient’s vital signs, feeding, grooming, and even helping them bathe or move for bed-bound patients.
This is an ideal job to work at while in nursing school as it is a requirement in practically most nursing schools. Many registered nurses and even medical students attempt to acquire a CNA license before applying to medical schools. This is a great way to strengthen your CV and simultaneously display commitment and experience in healthcare.
To become a CNA, you will need to take the certification exam. The requirements for this exam vary from state to state but commonly involve completing a CNA training course, getting some clinical practice hours, and passing an exam. You can get a CNA license in just around 2 months in most cases.
4 – Patient Care Technician (PCT)/Phlebotomist
A patient care technician can also work as a CNA in some states, meaning they are trained to do the same tasks as certified nursing assistants besides performing more specialized procedures. For instance, a PCT is authorized to draw blood, operate EKG machines, remove stitches and even start some catheters.
This job is ideal for working while in nursing school because PCTs tend to have the same responsibilities and exposure as CNAs but are paid significantly more than the latter. Additionally, PCTs can rotate shifts flexibly, which works well for hectic nursing school schedules.
To become a PCT, you will usually be required to get a CNA license. In some states, you can receive certification after completing an approved program, passing an exam, on-the-job training or combining all of these together.
You can definitely work while in nursing school, granted that your school schedule allows you. Some of the ideal jobs to work at while in nursing schools include being a hospital clerk, medical transcriptionist/medical scribe, certified nursing assistant (CNA) or patient care technician (PCT). You can enquire about more jobs at your nursing school’s counseling division.