10 Jobs for Nursing Students That Add Experience to Your Resume

Jobs for Nursing Students

Getting a nursing job is a task that can strike fear in the heart of any student. When you are hitting the job search fresh out of college, it’s tricky to show an employer that you have what it takes—especially if you are competing with candidates who have hands-on healthcare experience.

But fear not—work experience for nursing doesn’t have to wait until you’ve crossed the stage on graduation day. If you’re looking to gain some practical experience or maybe just earn some money while you’re in school, focus your efforts on student nurse jobs. Not only will this allow you to experience life in the healthcare industry firsthand, but it could also give you a leg up when applying for your first job after graduation.

Get your feet wet with some valuable experience before you graduate with a part-time job. We identified 10 jobs for nursing students that can boost your nursing resume.

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10 Jobs for nursing students looking to build their resumes

1. Summer camp nurse assistant

This is one of the best student nurse jobs for those who want to get an extra mile out of a Summer break. Enjoy the camaraderie of campers in the dog days of Summer as a Summer camp nurse assistant! As the assistant, you’ll be the right-hand helper to the camp nurse. This is an especially great choice for you if you are interested in pursuing a specialty in pediatrics someday.

In this position, you may help with distributing daily medications to campers or dressing wounds under the supervision of the camp nurse. You may also participate in public health and health education-related activities with campers and staff, depending on the camp setting.

How to become one:

Summer camp nurse assistants are often nursing students. While you typically do not need a degree to obtain this position, you will likely need to earn a CPR or first aid certificate.

2. Transporter

Before graduating, get your foot in the door of the healthcare industry as a transporter. As a transporter, you’ll get to see hospital operations from the inside out. Make the most of your time with patients to develop your interpersonal communication skills. If you are social and enjoy interacting with people from all walks of life, this may be a great choice for you.

You’ll coordinate with doctors and nurses to move patients throughout the hospital. You may transport patients on stretchers, hospital beds or wheelchairs to various departments or escort them out when they are discharged. You may bring a patient to the X-ray room or wheel a patient into an operating room.

How to become one:

Most transporter positions do not require a degree or Certificate. They typically receive on-the-job training, according to Chron Careers.

3. Dietary aide

As a dietary aide, you’ll get your start in the healthcare industry by preparing meals for patients that adhere to dietary restrictions commonly administered by doctors. These may include specialized diets like the renal diet, the 2-gram sodium diet or the cardiac diet, according to All Nurses.

A dietary aide position may appeal to you because of the variety of healthcare facilities you can work in. As a dietary aide, you could work anywhere from a hospital to an assisted living facility, in outpatient care or local health departments.

How to become one:

Dietary aide positions usually don’t require any education beyond a high school diploma, though you most likely will receive on-the-job training, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

4. Monitor technician

As a monitor technician, you’ll work in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and oversee heart rate monitors of patients. You will watch for any irregularities or patterns in the heart rates of patients in your unit. If you notice any unusual heart rates, it is up to you to alert the nurse or physician, according to the DOL.

This is a great option for those interested in cardiac care. If you desire to work in intensive care or want to be a cardiac care nurse down the line, a monitor technician job will give you a taste of the specialty.

How to become one:

While the requirements of monitor technicians vary by employer, they typically require anything from a high school diploma to an EKG certificate, according to Study.com.

5. Personal care aide

Sharpen up your caregiving skills before graduation as a personal care aide. You may work with clients with cognitive impairment or mental illness. You’ll provide companionship and support your clients with daily tasks like shopping, preparing meals or paying bills.

This position will provide you with a large amount of face-to-face time working with patients. This experience will help develop your emotional intelligence and improve your ability to communicate with patients who are in pain or cognitively impaired.

How to become one:

Most personal care aide employers do not have specific educational requirements for the position. You will most likely receive on-the-job training and you may need some experience with first aid and CPR, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

6. Orderly

Learn what goes on behind the scenes in a hospital as you answer call signals, determine patient needs and sanitize rooms and equipment according to hospital standards. You may also escort patients to various departments in the hospital, such as an X-ray or operating room. Working as an orderly before you graduate will help you gain experience with the operations of a hospital and interacting with a large variety of patients, according to the DOL.

How to become one:

Orderly positions typically do not require any education beyond a high school diploma. As an orderly, you’d most likely receive on-the-job training, according to the BLS.

7. Environmental services tech

A crucial component of hospital care is its meticulous cleanliness and sanitation. Get your foot in the door of the healthcare industry as an environmental services tech. You’ll work to protect vulnerable patients through sanitization practices in the hospitals to prevent the spread of disease and infection.

This environmental services job is a fantastic choice to showcase your knowledge of patient safety to potential employers since a huge part of the job is keeping the patient environment sanitary and safe.

How to become one:

Environmental services techs usually do not need any education past a high school diploma, according to Chron Careers.

8. Phlebotomist

If you’d like to put any squeamishness around needles to rest, working as a phlebotomist should do the trick. Phlebotomists draw blood for tests and transfusions, discuss the process with patients, label blood samples, maintain patient information in the database and keep everything sterile, according to the BLS.

Phlebotomists can be found in many healthcare settings, as well as blood bank facilities and blood drives.

How to become one:

While becoming a phlebotomist can offer excellent work experience for nursing, some employers require certification or non-degree program training. But there are also phlebotomist jobs that require only a high school diploma and will train new hires on the job, according to the BLS. If you are interested in phlebotomy, explaining your situation as a Nursing student to potential employers might help open doors.

9. Occupational therapy aide

Working in the occupational therapy area as a student nurse can be very illuminating. Occupational therapy aides transport patients, prepare and clean treatment areas and assemble equipment needed for therapy, according to the BLS.

In this position, you will also get some great exposure to the more administrative side of healthcare. Occupational therapy aides fill out insurance forms, schedule patient appointments and keep an eye on inventory levels for restocking.

How to become one:

Occupational therapy aides usually need a high school diploma or equivalent, according to the BLS. Employers train their new hires on the job. Your experience as a student in nursing school is a definite plus in this position. Just make sure you are CPR certified when you apply.

10. Psychiatric aide

This is the perfect student nurse job for those who are interested in mental health. And since nurses play a key role in combating the mental health crisis, any prospective nurse could have much to gain from having some experience in the psychiatric ward.

Psychiatric aides keep an eye on patients in a mental health facility, helping them bathe, dress and eat, according to the BLS. Their tasks also include cleaning, assisting in group activities and transporting and restraining patients in the event of physical violence.

How to become one:

Psychiatric aides typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, the BLS reports. There might be a period of on-the-job training before you begin.

The goal—getting a nursing job

You’ve got plenty of options when it comes to jobs for nursing students. Gaining some industry experience and meeting professionals in the field before graduation can only improve your job prospects after college. Student nurse jobs give you the experience to boost your resume and lift your confidence working in the healthcare setting.

Once you’ve gained the nursing work experience you need, then what’s next? It’s time to polish up your nursing resume. For more helpful tips on landing your first nursing job, check out our article, “The Nursing Student Resume: Don’t Forget These 6 Things Employers Want to See.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was originally published in June 2015. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2018.

About the author

Brianna Flavin

Brianna is a senior content manager who writes student-focused articles for Rasmussen University. She holds an MFA in poetry and worked as an English Professor before diving into the world of online content. 

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