How to Find the Right Nursing College near Lakeland Georgia
Searching for the best nursing college near Lakeland GA may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the appropriate education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many future students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least expensive school or the one that is local to your home is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several essential additional considerations to explore before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as Lakeland GA hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general duty is to support doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver 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 to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the Lakeland GA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Georgia board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are generally two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of 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 guarantees 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.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at Lakeland GA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive 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 amount of training directed and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with 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 sure that the training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus near Lakeland GA or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Georgia and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available in Lakeland GA for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Georgia or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Georgia school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Lakeland GA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgments 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Lakeland GA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with Lakeland GA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Lakeland GA students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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. So if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Lakeland GA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Lakeland 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.
Lakeland is a city in Lanier County, Georgia, United States. The city is the county seat of Lanier County. It is part of the Valdosta, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 2,730 at the 2000 census.
Originally called Alapaha and then Milltown or Mill Town, Lakeland received its current name in 1925 in honor of its proximity to Grand Bay Lake, Lake Irma, and Banks Lake. For many years, Lakeland owned and operated its own railroad.
Numerous festivals are held in the county throughout each year, one of which is the Flatlanders Frolic Arts and Crafts Show. This event features bluegrass music, a road race and various other Labor Day weekend events. Also held in Lanier County is the Living Murals Celebration, held in the spring, and most recently the Georgia Deep Woods Deerfest, a festival featuring wild game suppers and firearms giveaways.
Choose the Right Nursing College near Lakeland GA
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing degree program is probably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Lakeland GA.
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