How to Select a Nursing College near Gainesville Georgia
Locating the best nursing program near Gainesville GA may feel like a complicated project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many future students base their determination solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is local to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional factors to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, including Gainesville GA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Gainesville GA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Georgia board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are basically two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The other option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be Georgia approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at Gainesville GA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and each state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus near Gainesville GA or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Georgia and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided in Gainesville GA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Georgia school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Gainesville GA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Gainesville GA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Gainesville GA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for many Gainesville GA students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Gainesville GA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Gainesville Georgia area. If that is the case, then the following information may prove to be both educational and useful regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
The city of Gainesville is the county seat of Hall County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 33,804. By 2015 the population had risen to an estimated 38,712. Because of its large number of poultry processing plants, it is often called the "Poultry Capital of the World". Gainesville is the principal city of, and is included in, the Gainesville, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Gainesville, Georgia Combined Statistical Area.
Gainesville was established as "Mule Camp Springs" by European-American settlers in the early 1800s. Less than three years after the organization of Hall County on December 15, 1818, Mule Camp Springs was renamed "Gainesville" on April 21, 1821. It was named in honor of General Edmund P. Gaines, a hero of the War of 1812 and a noted military surveyor and road-builder. Gainesville was selected to be the county seat and chartered by the Georgia General Assembly on November 30, 1821.
A gold rush that began in nearby Lumpkin County in the 1830s resulted in an increase in the number of settlers and the beginning of a business community. In the middle of the 19th century, Gainesville had two important events. In 1849, it became established as a resort center, with people attracted to the springs. In 1851, much of the small city was destroyed by fire.
Pick the Right Nursing Program near Gainesville GA
Picking the ideal registered nursing degree program is arguably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Gainesville GA.
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