North Georgia’s Department of Nursing offers new path for master’s programs
5/25/2012 12:17:32 PM
(May 25, 2012) – Having conferred more than 1,200 Associate of Nursing (ASN) degrees since 2000, North Georgia College & State University’s Department of Nursing has implemented a new path of entry into the Master of Nursing program. The Professional Transitions Track was introduced in fall 2011, and allows ASN holders with a bachelor’s or master’s in another field to pursue a Master of Nursing degree after successfully completing two transition courses.
The two courses (NURS 5100 and 5200) each include five credit hours and 60 hours of clinical duty, during which an on-site preceptor monitors the student and files a report at the end of the semester. After completion, students may begin coursework for the Master of Nursing degree. The first cohort will begin their master’s coursework this summer.
This new option will expand the rapidly-growing program, which has two concentrations: family nurse practitioner (FNP) and nursing education.
| Faculty and students of the 2012 MSNE and FNP programs.
Since its beginning in 1998, the FNP concentration has graduated 185 nurses, and maintains a 98 percent pass rate on the FNP Certification Exam. Due to the critical need in northern Georgia for Advanced Practice Nurses (APRN), the program was funded by the US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for nine years. Currently, 90 percent of the APRNs who graduated from North Georgia serve in northern Georgia.
"Under the leadership of Dr. Sharon Chalmers, the graduate nursing program has grown more than 25 percent during the last two years and currently has an enrollment of more than 70 students,” Dr. Toni Barnett, professor of nursing, said. “Due to the critical nursing faculty shortage and changing health care system, graduate faculty are continuously working on innovative ways to increase the number of master's prepared nurse educators and FNPs in Georgia."
In 2006, North Georgia began offering the Master of Science in Nursing Education (MSNE) degree. This concentration has focused on generating nurse educators with the ability to construct and deliver successful curricula and programs. North Georgia has graduated more than 50 nurse educators, all of whom currently serve the state of Georgia.
"There is a national nursing faculty shortage, and this program is critical in preparing nurses for the academic role,” said Dr. Michelle Byrne, professor and coordinator of the MSNE program. “Alumni from this program have entered doctoral programs and are employed in universities and colleges throughout the region, applying skills learned from courses in curriculum, instructional strategies, assessment, and evaluation."