Can an RN work as a HHA?

By | 2022-02-08T14:46:43-05:00 December 9th, 2008|0 Comments


Dear Donna,

I feel so fed up and burnt out with nursing and desperately want to give it a rest! I would very much like to work as a HHA or a CNA or a medical assistant etc. I do have a CNA certificate from years ago, as I worked my way through nursing school as a CAN. Can I work as a HHA? What do you think?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Maria,

It is understandable that you might need a break from the types of nursing that you are doing. But working in a lesser role in healthcare is not a good move for several reasons. For starters, if you hold an RN license, even if you work as a CNA or HHA, you are held responsible to that nursing license if anything goes awry. Also, it will not look good on your résumé, and it will be tough to explain.

I would suggest that you, instead, look for a job in nursing that is low key and low stress — perhaps something nontraditional, possibly even where you are not providing patient care if that’s what you need. This might include patient advocate, preadmission testing nurse, advice line nurse, etc.

If you’d like to be even further removed from traditional nursing practice, consider utilization review, quality improvement, or various insurance industry positions. Rather than me including a laundry list of possibilities for you here, consider attending my upcoming Career Alternatives for Nurses® seminar in Atlantic City, N.J., on February 23, 2009 . You’ll learn about more than 60 options available to all nurses, identify transferable skills, and discover out how to find and get the job you want. The program is also available in CD and DVD home study versions. You should also go to Nusing Spectrum/NurseWeek Career Fairs , conventions, and professional association meetings to see what else is available to you.

You have plenty of variety in nursing, so explore what’s out there and find something that suits you. Read “Spreading Your Wings: Career Alternatives for Nurses” at for more ideas.

My best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’s “Dear Donna” and author of Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional and The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career. Information about the books is available at and, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call (800) 866-0919 or visit


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