A recent report issued by the Georgia Nurses Association (GNA) highlights the startling projection that by the year 2020 Georgia will have a shortage of nearly 50,000 nurses. The same report points out that hospitals are hiring greater numbers of nurses who have a BSN because of the association between bachelor’s-level training and higher quality care that results in lower patient mortality rates and lower rates of readmission.
According to the same GNA report, Georgia’s rate of nurse training must increase as more nurses enter retirement. Currently, 60 percent of the state’s nurses are at least 50 years old. This high demand for nurses combined with the advantages that come with hiring BSN-educated RNs are strong incentives for nursing students to enroll in BSN programs.
BSN graduates will also be well prepared to take the NCLEX-RN Examination and qualify for RN licensure through the Georgia Board of Nursing. Besides traditional RN jobs, nurses who hold a BSN can also find advanced employment opportunities. In Georgia this can include positions such as these taken from job ads in February of 2015:
- Clinical Educator with Hospice in Marietta
- Infection Preventionist with Grady Health System in Atlanta
- Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Nurse at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah
- Clinical Nurse Manager with CareSouth in Macon
Pre-Licensure BSN Programs in Georgia
BSN programs are offered at 24 colleges and universities throughout Georgia. These four-year programs are typically comprised of around 125 semester credits, divided into three main parts:
- General undergraduate courses – around 40 credits
- Prerequisite courses – around 20 credits
- BSN major core courses – around 65 credits
The general undergraduate courses include subjects like basic English, math, and history. The prerequisite courses cover subjects that are directly related to core nursing courses. The core nursing courses build upon the prerequisites to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of nursing that will provide a strong foundation for taking the NCLEX-RN Examination. The core courses also include a clinical segment.
BSN candidates usually need to complete their general and prerequisite courses before they will be admitted into their school’s specific college or department of nursing. Nursing schools will on the whole accept general and prerequisite courses as transfer credits when they are taken at other academic institutions. General and prerequisite courses, as well as some core nursing courses, are offered online through some colleges.
Prospective students should check with the individual school they are considering as entry requirements and program curricula can vary. Students in Georgia can find BSN programs in the cities of:
- Mount Berry
Entry Requirements for BSN Schools in Georgia
Each college and university has its own general admittance requirements. Things that are usually considered are GPA, test scores, and examples of character integrity. These are the requirements that incoming freshman will need to meet.
Colleges or programs of nursing within a university also have entry requirements. Similar to declaring a major, prospective BSN students can usually apply to these schools of nursing once their general and prerequisite courses are nearing completion. Typical nursing school admission requirements include:
- ATI (Assessment Technologies Institute) Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS)
- Minimum GPA requirement, such as a 2.5
- An essay about health care and personal motivations
- CPR certification, criminal background check, and vaccination records – these may be required for the clinical segment of the BSN program
Prerequisite Courses and Core BSN Nursing Program Curriculum
As part of the well-rounded education any bachelor’s degree provides, Georgia BSN candidates will need to start by completing courses of their choosing from a variety of fields required by the university, ranging from English to mathematics to the humanities.
BSN candidates can plan ahead for their core nursing courses by completing the prerequisites for these as part of their general courses. Typical nursing prerequisites include:
- Statistics and probability
- Anatomy and physiology
- Human life span and development
Upon admittance to a nursing program students can begin their upper-division coursework. This typically includes a study of subjects including:
- Professional nursing practices
- Health assessments for children, adults, and the elderly
- Mental health and nursing
- Nursing research tools and techniques
- Leadership and management
- Adult health
- Women and children’s health
- Family health
- Community care
- Policy and human services
- Professionalism and ethics
Clinical Nursing Segment in Georgia
As part of the core nursing courses, BSN students will also complete a clinical segment. Clinicals can take place at health care facilities where a nursing school has a clinical agreement. This can include hospitals, community clinics, and long-term care facilities. Clinicals will often take place in a hospital affiliated with a university. To accommodate BSN students who are completing their clinical portion online, nursing schools may have clinical agreements with facilities at locations throughout Georgia, and even out of state.
Locations of BSN clinical programs in Georgia include:
- Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah
- Saint Joseph’s Candler Health System in Savannah
- Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta
- VA Medical Center in Atlanta
- Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
- Bethesda Community Clinic in Canton
- Cherokee County Health Department in Canton and Woodstock
- DeKalb Medical Center in Atlanta
- Floyd Medical Center in Rome
- Gordon Hospital in Calhoun
- Shepherd Medical Center in Atlanta
- Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton
NCLEX-RN Examination and Licensing in Georgia
Georgia’s BSN programs have a great track record of preparing their students for success on the NCLEX-RN Examination. Half of all nursing schools in Georgia that have reported their students’ exam results to the Georgia Board of Nursing have a 4-year average pass rate of more than 90 percent of students.
Students can register for the exam through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The exam itself is administered by the testing company Pearson VUE. BSN students can begin preparing for their exam by consulting these two brochures:
Upon passing the NCLEX-RN Exam BSN graduates will be eligible to apply for an RN license through the Georgia Board of Nursing.
BSN Resources for Prospective Students in Georgia
Most, if not all colleges and universities that have a nursing program also have resources related to scholarships, grants, and financial aid. The Georgia Nurses Association (GNA) is also a valuable resource that provides information regarding:
Many employers will also provide salary bonuses and tuition assistance for their staff. Georgia’s health care providers recognize that having a more educated staff enhances patient care. Providers that offer these types of benefits include:
- Memorial Health
- Saint Joseph’s/Candler
- Shepherd Center
- Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta