The importance of considering nursing schools in Georgia is highlighted by the fact that the State has been singled out as having one of the lowest ratio of nurses in relation to the overall population of healthcare workers. To rectify this situation, some adjustments have been made to the Nurse Practice Act including controversial changes like equitable requirements for licensing of nurses coming from non-traditional schools and nursing programs.
These types of strategies are geared towards the stabilization of requirements for nursing education without necessarily sacrificing quality of registered nurse licenses. In the same manner, it is hoped that such bold steps can usher more fruitful nursing careers in the State.
This eagerness to attract more students in this healthcare field is what makes nursing schools in Georgia extremely attractive. Prospective students have wide variety of choices ranging from small community colleges up to major medical universities. Some questions that need to be addressed before making the decision include:
- What is the role of the Georgia Board of Nursing?
The State Board is primarily responsible for the regulation of the nursing licenses issued in the State of Georgia. It focuses on the importance of attending any of the approved nursing schools in Georgia to ensure that the program being taken meets at least the minimum requirements set by the board prior to taking of the licensure examination.
Additionally, the board can help coordinate the eligibility of students to take advantage of the HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) Scholarship program. With financial aid offices in 105 postsecondary educational institutions, determining the eligibility of applicants is made easier.
Another important program is the Health Professions Initiative, which is collaboration between the public and the private sector to help produce over 1,300 new nurses in the State. This translates to growing opportunities for nurses in the State of Georgia.
- What is the current state of the healthcare industry in Georgia?
The healthcare industry in the State of Georgia currently employs 196,000 practitioners including almost 85,000 healthcare support professionals that are broken down as follows:
- registered nurses
- licensed vocational nurses
- nursing aides
- home health aides
The healthcare industry is a mix of government and business bodies, which includes the GDCH or Georgia Department of Community Health. The GDCH has an established working relationship with healthcare providers, nursing schools, and other professionals in the healthcare industry to deliver improved health and education programs to the public.
The Primary Care Office Program as well as the Critical Access Hospital Program is just some examples of how the healthcare industry in the State responds to the needs of rural communities.
- What are the potentials for employment of graduates of nursing schools in Georgia?
Using the figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as a basis, the top three industries in the State as of June 2010 are trade, transportation, and utilities. These three are closely followed by the government, professional and business services, and the education and health services sector. It is important to note though that the number of employed in the educations and health services sector has risen by 2% from the previous year.
It is equally important to understand that the annual average salary of those working in the State of Georgia is a little over $41,000 based on the 4 million jobs at hand. The U.S. Census Bureau reveals that the per capita income is slightly lower than the national average, but, it is also vital to note that the State is the 11th lowest in cost of living, making it easy to survive with a relatively lower income.
- Why should Georgia nursing schools be considered?
For those who want an established career in the delivery of patient care with ample room for growth, the State of Georgia is one of the most viable considerations. This is primarily because the State is considered as the 8th fastest growing across the United States, which translates to more people and opportunities for medical care. With a population nearly exceeding the 12 million mark, more people will be in need of healthcare services.
Moving to the State of Georgia is a relatively easy decision because of the comparatively simple adjustment period caused by the low cost of living combined with southern hospitality. The State of Georgia has consistently ranked among the ten strongest State economies across the country, which can translate to immense benefits for its residents.
- What does accreditation mean?
With regards to nursing schools in Georgia and across the country, accreditation describes the method to achieve basic level of quality in nursing education provided by any institution. This method aims to ensure that the degrees that will be conferred to graduates will be categorized as real achievements. Accreditation is done to ensure that the academic experience is the highest quality possible.
Nursing students should be able to understand the value of accreditation and the associated risks of having a nursing degree from an educational institution that is not recognized. Essentially, accreditation makes use of a standard evaluation that will encourage educational institutions to comply with higher quality of learning. It also makes educational institutions accountable for their graduates and helps to build public confidence in the field of nursing.
- What is the importance of accreditation for nursing students?
For nursing students, the importance of accreditation is not only limited to the quality of education that they will receive, as well as the type of confidence patients will have on their services. Getting their degree from an educational institution with accreditation will lead to benefits like:
- Federal financial aid – in the United States, CHEA specifically states that students who want to receive federal grants and loans must be enrolled in programs, colleges, or universities that have accreditation.
- Credit transfer – when transferring to other schools, credits can only be accepted if they are given by an educational institution with accreditation.
- Employment opportunities – there is no question that graduates of schools with accreditation have a better chance of landing a job in the healthcare industry compared to applicants that have a degree from schools that are not accredited. Eligibility for advancements also becomes very limited.
Having a clearer understanding of these concerns about the healthcare industry in the State makes it easier to decide to enroll in nursing schools in Georgia.
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