How to Pick a Nursing College near Waycross Georgia
Selecting the right nursing program near Waycross GA may seem like a complex project, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regretably, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is closest to your home is undoubtedly not the most ideal way to pick a nursing college. There are a number of key additional things to explore before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first look at what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different Waycross GA medical environments, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to aid doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, 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 routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
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 receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Waycross GA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by Georgia community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Georgia colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Georgia board of nursing for any state requirements.
Online Nursing Classes
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for many Waycross GA students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nursing Courses
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges in the Waycross GA area and throughout Georgia and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares 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 organization. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans in Waycross GA, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, 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 meet the minimum licensing standards for Georgia or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Georgia school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Waycross 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Waycross GA medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Waycross GA hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Looking at Nursing Schools near Waycross GA?
Waycross includes two historic districts (Downtown Waycross Historic District and Waycross Historic District) and several other properties that are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse, Lott Cemetery, the First African Baptist Church and Parsonage, and the Obediah Barber Homestead (which is seven miles south of the city).
The area now known as Waycross was first settled circa 1820, locally known as "Old Nine" or "Number Nine" and then Pendleton. It was renamed Tebeauville in 1857, incorporated under that name in 1866, and designated county seat of Ware County in 1873. It was incorporated as "Way Cross" on March 3, 1874. Waycross gets its name from the city’s location at key railroad junctions; lines from six directions meet at the city.
During the 1950s the city had a tourist gimmick: local police would stop motorists with out-of-state license plates and escort them to downtown Waycross. There they would be met by the Welcome World Committee and given overnight lodging, dinner and a trip to the Okefenokee Swamp. The tradition faded away after the interstates opened through Georgia.
Choose the Right RN Program near Waycross GA
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is potentially the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose 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 RN in Waycross GA.
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