How to Choose a Nursing School near Hawkinsville Georgia
Searching for the best nursing school near Hawkinsville GA may feel like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must acquire the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and assess the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the most reliable way to pick a nursing program. There are many crucial additional factors to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first review what the role of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, such as Hawkinsville GA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization as well as where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Hawkinsville GA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Georgia board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are essentially two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Georgia approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at Hawkinsville GA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Questions to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus near Hawkinsville GA or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Georgia and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Hawkinsville GA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain 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 provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Georgia or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Georgia school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Hawkinsville 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 colleges you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Hawkinsville GA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with Hawkinsville GA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and acquire a nursing degree. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for many Hawkinsville GA students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Hawkinsville GA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Hawkinsville 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.
Hawkinsville is known as the "Harness Horse Capital" of Georgia. The Lawrence Bennett Harness Horse Racing facility is owned by the city and serves as an important training ground during winter months. The Harness Festival takes place every April at the end of training before horses head north for the harness racing season.
Hawkinsville was founded by European Americans in 1830. That same year, the seat of Pulaski County was transferred to Hawkinsville from Hartford. The community was named for Benjamin Hawkins, delegate to the Continental Congress, and the United States Indian Agent in the Southeast, appointed by President George Washington.
The city includes Hawkinsville High School and several historical sites, including Hawkinsville City Hall-Auditorium, Hawkinsville Public School, the Merritt-Ragan House, the Pulaski County Courthouse, and Taylor Hall. St. Thomas African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized after the American Civil War as one of hundreds of AME churches planted in the South by missionaries from the first black independent denomination in the United States, founded in the early 19th century in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Hawkinsville Commercial and Industrial Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hawkinsville is also home to the historic Hawkinsville Opera House.
Pick the Right Nursing Degree near Hawkinsville GA
Picking the ideal registered nursing degree program is perhaps the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Hawkinsville GA.
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