Big changes revealed for GHC’s nursing program

GHC nursing students take their classes at Heritage Hall in Rome. Photo by Cassandra Humphries

GHC nursing students take their classes at Heritage Hall in Rome. Photo by Cassandra Humphries

In keeping with national trends, Georgia Highlands College’s nursing associate degree program is changing its requirements.

According to Health Science Dean Janet Alexander, nursing students who are accepted into the Fall 2016 program will have to have a CNA license before starting the program, alternatively students applying for the program’s fall 2017 class will be required to have a CNA license prior to applying for the program.

Alexander says, “This will give the students more experience going into the program, to make sure this is really what they want to do. Half the students already have a CNA license, so it will give the rest an opportunity to be on even-footing. Also they can work with this license while in the program, and it’s a door opener to a better nursing job once graduating.”

Plans for this change have been in the works for quite some time. However, according to GHC’s Director of Nursing, Rebecca F. Maddox, the change is only now being made official. Students can expect additional changes in the future, “but the only change at present is a requirement to be a certified nursing assistant prior to starting the nursing program,” Maddox said.

Licensed Practical Nurses applying for the LPN-RN bridge program will be exempt from this CNA requirement as they are already practicing licensed nurses. Paramedics applying for the paramedic-RN bridge program will not be exempt from the CNA requirement.

Being considered for admission into GHC’s competitive nursing program, which will only accept 80 students, requires that applicants have a minimum combined score of 830 points on the math and critical reading sections of the SAT. Students must also take the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS V), but there is no minimum score required to be eligible for admission into the nursing program. Points are awarded based on math and science subscale scores; the higher a student scores, the more points the student receives.

Grades in the pre-nursing courses also help to determine a student’s eligibility for entry into GHC’s nursing program.

The nursing curriculum is being redesigned to allow students to complete the program, including core classes, in four to five semesters of full-time enrollment. Students will still be able to complete the core curriculum first, and then take the nursing courses by themselves.

A link to the nursing application worksheet can be found on the highlands.edu nursing admissions page.