How to Choose a Nursing College near Valdosta Georgia
Choosing the best nursing program near Valdosta GA may seem like a complex project, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and measure the qualifications of each program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Going with the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is most likely not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are many essential additional aspects to explore before you determine where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, namely Valdosta GA hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining 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 normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And 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 Valdosta GA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish 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 commonly a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Georgia board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Training
There are generally two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, typically about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to 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 adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at Valdosta GA area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training directed and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Things to Ask Nursing Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Valdosta GA or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Georgia and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points 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 see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided in Valdosta 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Georgia or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Georgia school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Valdosta 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 programs 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Valdosta GA medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Valdosta GA hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to receive training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some Valdosta GA students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Attending a Nursing School near Valdosta GA?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Valdosta 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.
Valdosta is a city in and the county seat of Lowndes County, located on the southern border of Georgia, United States. As of 2013, Valdosta has a total population of 56,481, and is the 14th largest city in Georgia.
Valdosta is the home of Valdosta State University, a regional university in the University System of Georgia with over 10,900 students. The local public Valdosta High School has the most winning football program of any high school in the United States.
Valdosta was incorporated on December 7, 1860, when it was designated by the state legislature as the new county seat, formerly at nearby Troupville. The railroad was built to Valdosta that year, rather than Troupville, stimulating development in the new county seat. Many citizens of Troupville had already relocated to Valdosta when the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad was built four miles (about 6 km) away. On July 4, 1860, the engine known as Satilla No. 3 pulled the first train into Valdosta on the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad.
Choose the Right Nursing Degree near Valdosta GA
Selecting the ideal registered nursing college is perhaps the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this content, 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 using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Valdosta GA.
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