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7 Summer Jobs for Nursing Students

Gayle Morris, BSN, MSN
Updated April 4, 2023
    Summer jobs for nursing students can expand a student's experience, increase their confidence, and help pay the bills. Consider these seven jobs that can benefit a nursing student.
    Credit: wundervisuals / Getty Images
    • Nursing is a rewarding career with opportunities in many different healthcare fields.
    • Summer jobs for nursing students should increase their experience in healthcare, improve their confidence, and help them pay the bills.
    • Nursing students may consider a part-time job if they want to expand their professional network and gain work experience.

    Nursing school is an expensive undertaking. But, without question, it is also a step toward a rewarding career with opportunities in various healthcare sectors. You also have the option to advance your education and practice independently. For example, nurses can find employment in hospitals, clinics, schools, prisons, and the community, to name a few.

    We discuss some of the summer jobs open to traditional and nontraditional nursing students that can help cover costs. Even if you’re taking classes over the summer, part-time positions can help you gain healthcare industry experience and raise your confidence level. Check out popular summer job options for nursing students.

    What to Look For in a Summer Job for Nursing Students

    When looking for a summer job as a nursing student, you want one that pays, fits within your schedule (especially if you’re taking summer classes), and provides relevant experience.

    The summer job you’re looking for should have benefits that go far beyond your paycheck. Some of the rewards you’ll enjoy include experience in healthcare while building a network of professional nursing contacts, confidence, and time management skills as a nurse.

    The following seven summer jobs are examples of jobs that meet these criteria. But you may also want to think outside the box. For instance, taking a nanny position over the summer may be the perfect job for a nursing student who wants to become a pediatric nurse practitioner.

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    7 Summer Jobs for Nursing Students

    1 | Lifeguard

    Lifeguards work outdoors most of the summer at pools and water parks. Of course, you might find a lifeguard position you can keep all year round at an indoor pool.

    A lifeguard spends 50 minutes out of every hour watching the pool for children or adults who may be in trouble. They are responsible for every visitor, must be trained and certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and remain calm during emergency situations.

    You must enjoy being outdoors, appreciate a loud and fun environment, and be looking for a position with great responsibility.

    2 | Summer Camp Nurse Assistant

    Some summer camp opportunities are available for student nurses. Responsibilities include ensuring the health and safety of the campers and the staff, doing weekly health checks, medical record keeping, communicating with parents or guardians, and accompanying sick or injured campers and staff to the local hospital or medical appointments.

    You must be available for at least two-week increments, depending on the camp, and many camps require staff to stay onsite at all times. Camp nurses are flexible and confident, enjoy an active lifestyle, and have past experience with children.

    3 | Nursing Assistant

    In some states, completing your first year of nursing school qualifies you to take the certified nursing assistant exam. Even without the certification, you can work as a nursing student after completing one year of nursing school. This offers you the opportunity to gain good work experience and confidence working with patients while earning an income.

    What you learn at work can also help solidify the knowledge you gain in your classes and help you pass your exams. Finally, as a nursing assistant in a hospital, clinic, or private practice, you have the opportunity to network and increase your employment options after graduation.

    4 | Dietary Aide

    Dietary aides cook and serve meals to patients in hospitals and long-term care facilities. They are responsible for the patient’s dietary restrictions and maintaining the kitchen and dining areas.

    Dietary aides may also help patients eat when they need assistance and provide education about improving their nutrition. The job has a daytime schedule and offers nursing students a glimpse into nutritional nursing as a career and the opportunity to build their assessment and communication skills.

    5 | Personal Care Aide

    A personal care aide provides care in the patient’s home, long-term care facility, or community. Personal care aides offer patients a variety of services to people who are unable to care for themselves, including grocery shopping, laundry services, housekeeping, and food services.

    The majority of patients are physically disabled, cognitively impaired, have chronic illnesses, or are elderly. With a growing aging population and six out of 10 adults with chronic disease, this is a rapidly expanding field. In large cities, personal care aides may also be employed by group homes.

    6 | Phlebotomist

    A phlebotomist works with patients and healthcare staff in hospitals, clinics, large private practices, and laboratories. They are responsible for drawing blood samples for testing. Nursing students may benefit from the experience since drawing blood and starting intravenous lines require some of the same skills.

    Your nursing program or college may offer a semester course that prepares you to take the certification examination. The job offers flexible hours and you may be able to work part time during your fall and spring semesters. Phlebotomists must practice lab safety, understand human anatomy, and organize blood samples appropriately.

    Nursing students learn strong communication skills on the job.

    7 | Psychiatric Aide

    Nursing students interested in mental health nursing may find a summer as a psychiatric aide to confirm if they prefer the field. Psychiatric aides are part of a healthcare team that cares for people with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities.

    They are the first line of care in psychiatric hospitals and residential mental health facilities where they spend most of the day on their feet. They observe and record patient behavior, monitor vital signs, and assist patients with daily living tasks. Aides may also oversee activities and organize educational programs for the patients.

    The Benefits of Working a Nursing Job in the Summer

    Whether full time or part time, nursing students benefit from summer jobs that broaden their experience in healthcare and contribute to a greater work-life balance. Many summer positions have a short-term commitment. If you don’t like the job or it’s not everything you’d hoped, you’ll likely only be working for 11-12 weeks before going back for the fall semester.

    You should not overlook the many benefits of working a summer job as they often offer students the time to gain and refine skills they need in their careers. Although many summer positions are entry level and pay lower wages, you can expand your professional network and receive benefits you can enjoy long after you’ve spent your paycheck.