How To Become A Nurse In Georgia

So you want to be a nurse, but not sure quite how to go about it. While there are a few variables when it comes to what level of nursing might be right for you, it does give you options. If you want to get into the nursing field quickly, you can spend one year to 18 months in school and become an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse). While you may not be able to provide extensive care, you can still get your foot in the door in the medical field and have the option of continuing your education from that point. If you are able to attend school for two to four years, you can become an RN (Registered Nurse) with an Associate of Science degree (ASN) or Bachelor of Science degree (BSN). RNs have more advanced skills and are able to provide more intensive care than an LPN. No matter what degree you decide on, you want to make sure that you check with your government licensing agencies, either the Georgia Board of Licensed Practical Nursing or the Georgia Board of Nursing. This ensures that whatever school you attend will provide you with the correct curriculum to pass state licensing exams. While most community colleges, vocational schools and technical schools offer LPN courses, you will usually not be able to attain your RN, and will have to attend a four-year college. The following explains how to become an LPN or RN, and what you can expect on the job once you graduate and get your license.

LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)

Becoming an LPN requires between 12 and 18 months of secondary education. To receive your LPN you must successfully complete an LPN training program approved by the Georgia Board of Licensed Practical Nursing. In most cases, you can take and LPN course at a community college, vocation school or technical school. After completing the approved training successfully, you will then be able to take the national exam to obtain your license to practice as an LPN. The exam is called the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses), and consists of four segments that need to be all passed successfully in order to pass the entire exam. The exam tests your knowledge in the following topics, Safe Effective Care Environment, Health Promotion and Maintenance, Psychological Integrity and Physiological Integrity.

While an LPN is a nurse, they have the narrowest scope of practice, or types of care they can provide, of all the nursing degrees. Each state has its own scope of practice criteria for all nurses, but most states are very strict on what kind of care an LPN can and cannot provide. They can only provide care that has been evaluated by an RN or someone of higher stature to have only one outcome. The LPN must also follow established steps to get to that outcome. They are limited to providing care that does not require decision-making and must always be under the supervision of an RN or someone of a higher licensure. While an LPN is not permitted to provide Intravenous Therapy or administer medications with just an LPN license, there is additional training available that provide them with the skills needed to provide these types of patient care as well.

RN (Registered Nurse) Georgia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses

If you have the time and finances to attend school to become an RN and it sounds more appealing to you, plan to spend two years in school for your ASN and approximately four years for your BSN. Again, you want to make sure that whatever school you attend is accredited with the Georgia Board of Nursing. Most community colleges do not offer RN programs, but you can attend a four-year school to attain either your ASN or BSN. You may also want to look into hospitals in your area to see if they have a School of Nursing as well. Hospital nursing schools are usually very limited and only have a small number of students, but you are trained in the “real world” environment, and in most cases offered employment upon your successful completing of training and licensing. As with the LPN licensing, you will be required to take a state exam called the NCLEX-RN to attain your RN license. The test has the same four segments as the LPN exam, but of course has questions that are more challenging for those with a higher degree.

Being an RN has a much larger scope of practice than an LPN. Tasks that require assessment, planning and professional judgment are all a part of the job description for an RN providing patient care. They are also responsible for instruction and supervising LPNs.

Becoming an RN – Associate’s versus Bachelor’s degrees

Deciding on your ASN or BSN depends on whether you want to practice in general nursing or a specialty. Attaining your associate’s degree allows you to practice general nursing in many areas. It can also be the first step to helping you decide whether you want to continue your education to work in particular area of nursing. If you are unsure of what you want to do, starting with your associate’s degree is probably the best decision. If you start working as a nurse with an associate’s degree, your employer may provide tuition assistance to help you attain your bachelor’s degree. Again, you have a variety of options to work in general nursing, a specialty and even in nurse management if you attain your bachelor’s degree.

Being a nurse requires you to keep up to date on anything new involving the nursing field. In order to make sure that your skills and knowledge are as up to date as possible, you are required to obtain CE (continuing education) credits throughout the year. While they are usually offered at your place of employment, you can also take them online if it is more convenient. These have to be kept up to date or you will not be able to renew your nursing license every two years.

Nursing Schools in Georgia

While the LPN program is offered at a majority of technical schools, vocational schools and community colleges in Georgia, the following schools are based on those attending for an ASN or BSN.

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Nursing School Locations

Brenau University
School of Nursing
500 Washington Street, West
Gainesville, Georgia 30501
(770) 534-6260

Columbus Technical College
Associate Degree Nursing
928 Manchester Expressway
Columbus, GA 31904-6572
(706) 225-0536

Emory University
Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
1520 Clifton Rd. NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30322
(404) 727-7976

Georgia Baptist College of Nursing
3001 Mercer University Dr.
Atlanta, Georgia 30341
(678) 547-6798

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