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Healthcare Stepping-Stone Jobs

Healthcare Stepping-Stone Jobs

Megan Malugani, Monster Contributing Writer

Solid Foundation

Nursing also offers rich career paths. Many certified nursing assistants move on to become licensed practical nurses or registered nurses. And RNs can progress much further with advanced degrees, becoming nurse practitioners or clinical nurse specialists.

Licensed practical nurse Gregory Howard started his healthcare career as a nursing assistant. When he heard rumors that all nursing-assistant positions at his hospital were being phased out, he took action. “I liked the medical profession, so I decided to try to get into a practical nursing school,” Howard says.

Nursing school was easier for him because of his patient-care experience and knowledge of medical terminology. “Students who hadn’t worked in a hospital before struggled because the language was completely foreign to them,” Howard says. He claims that his experience as a nursing assistant gives him a greater empathy for and understanding of the capabilities of the aides with whom he works today. Because he likes “the hands-on aspects of being an LPN,” Howard says he has no intentions of becoming an RN.

Hospitals boast a diverse range of programs — from on-site courses to tuition assistance — to encourage workers to advance up the healthcare ladder, Stock says. However, many allied health workers who find a position they like don’t want to spend the time, money and effort it would take to climb higher. The healthcare system wouldn’t function without the contributions of technicians and assistants. “They’re very valuable roles that offer a lot of patient contact,” Stock says. “That’s very satisfying.”

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