Great part-time healthcare jobs for nursing students

July 10, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Two gap medics students with one of the nurses at McCormick Hospital in Thailand. Nursing school can be expensive and, if you are like many students, you may need to work part-time. Before deciding to work in food services or babysit, consider a part-time job in healthcare. Some part-time jobs in healthcare listed below do not require any specific training or licensure. For other jobs, you may be required to complete a class, which could span a few weeks to about a semester. Keep in mind that, in some cases, the class you take may also be used to satisfy elective requirements for nursing school.

Working in a part-time healthcare job while in nursing school has several benefits. Often, jobs in healthcare pay more than a part-time job you would get in retail or food services. In addition, working with patients is great experience and may even help you understand some aspects of nursing better. Also, once you are employed in a part-time healthcare job, it may be a foot in the door at the same facility after you graduate nursing school. Consider some of the following healthcare jobs, which may be perfect for nursing students.

Emergency medical technician

EMTs provide emergency medical services to people outside of a hospital setting. They may provide care to victims of accidents or medical emergencies. Typical duties may include performing assessments, taking vital signs, applying bandages or splints, performing CPR or assisting the paramedic with treatments or procedures. If you want to work as an EMT, training usually involves completing a class, which is often a semester long. EMTs work for hospitals, fire departments and private ambulance companies. Working as an EMT may be especially helpful to nursing students who may want to pursue a career as an emergency room nurse.

Nursing assistant

A nursing assistant provides care to patients in a variety of healthcare settings, such as acute care hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. Nursing assistants, who are sometimes referred to as nurse’s aides, often work under the supervision of a registered nurse. Duties may include measuring vital signs, assisting with patient toileting and grooming, walking patients and monitoring nutrition. The length of training to become a nursing assistant may vary from about four weeks to a few months. Some employers may offer an accelerated class to quickly get you started working. Working as a nursing assistant allows you the opportunity to see the duties of a registered nurse first-hand.

Home health aide

Home health aides work with people who require some level of medical assistance, but want to stay in their home. Duties may include dressing changes, checking vital signs or helping a patient walk. In some cases, the work is similar to that of a nursing assistant in a hospital. The requirements to become a home health aide vary by state. Some states do not require any formal training. In other cases, home health aides who work for companies that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement may be required to have formal training. When training is required, it usually involves completing a semester-long class.

Monitor technician

Nurses cannot be in all their patients’ rooms at the same time, which is why many hospitals have monitor stations.  Patients wear small monitors that transmit information, such as heart rate and oxygen level, to a central location (usually at the nurse’s station). A monitor technician sits at the station and watches the monitors for any significant changes, which may indicate a problem with the patient. Monitor technicians may need to take a class in EKG interpretation but are also often trained on the job. Most monitor technicians work in acute care hospitals in areas like telemetry or cardiac step-down units. Working as a monitor technician is a great way to get started at a particular healthcare facility. Once you graduate nursing school, if you are hired by the same hospital, your seniority may transfer.


Caregivers usually work for individuals and not a hospital or healthcare facility. As a caregiver, you will not have medical duties, but it is still good experience for a nursing student. The exact responsibilities of a caregiver may vary based on the needs of the individual employer. For instance, a person who is paralyzed may hire a caregiver to assist with dressing and grooming.  A caregiver may assist in meal preparation or household tasks. They may also provide companionship or respite care for the primary caregiver. There is often no formal training required for working as a caregiver. A desire to work in the medical field or being a nursing student may be all you need to get started. Hours may be flexible, and your employer may let you change your schedule as your school work requires.

How to make it work

You may wonder how you can fit a job in with school. One good thing about working in healthcare is many jobs require workers around the clock. This means you may be able to fit a part-time job into your school schedule. For instance, if you take classes all morning, maybe you can work a few evenings a week. Also, you may be able to find a position, such as working as a nursing assistant or caregiver, which is weekends only. Be sure to be honest with your employer and let them know you are in nursing school. Don’t take on more hours than you can handle or you may feel overwhelmed, and both work and school can suffer.

If you are working a part-time job and going to school to be a nurse, be sure you stay up to speed on your school assignments. Make it a rule to avoid procrastination. If you fall behind on school assignments and have to go to work, it can be very hard to catch up.

Managing a part-time job in healthcare and going to nursing school can be a challenge. It requires organization and good time management skills, but the experience you gain along the way can help you be a better nurse in the future.


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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.