(Media release from Georgia Northwestern Technical College):

Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) recently hosted two meet and greets at the new second location of GNTC’s Practical Nursing program to provide an opportunity to tour the facilities and to meet the instructors and students.

The Practical Nursing (PN) program is being relaunched at GNTC’s Walker County Campus at 265 Bicentennial Trail, Rock Spring for the fall 2023 semester, said Kimberly Jones, GNTC’s assistant dean of Nursing. GNTC also offers the PN program at the college’s Floyd County Campus in Rome.

“We want the community and potential students to know of this great opportunity to receive a PN diploma locally,” Jones said.

GNTC closed the program at the Walker County Campus due a lack of staffing resulting from a rash of retirements and people leaving the healthcare profession during the pandemic, said Allison Patnode, dean of Nursing and Health Technologies.

“Since the program closed, we have worked diligently to hire the appropriate faculty and staff. We are excited to have two excellent faculty members to head up the reopening” Patnode said. “Our primary focus is to extend the opportunity and serve the students of our northern campuses who are interested in becoming a Practical Nurse.”

The Practical Nursing program includes academic and occupational courses, along with a variety of clinical experiences to integrate theory and practice under the clinical instructor’s guidance. Upon completion of the program, graduates receive a Practical Nursing diploma and are eligible to sit for the NCLEX exam. Upon passing the NCLEX, the program graduate becomes a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).

“We are excited to be back in this location and to have a wonderful new simulation lab,” said Melinda Chapman, instructor of Practical Nursing at GNTC’s Walker County Campus.

Chapman showcased classroom equipment, including new Gaumard patient simulators, or manikins, that can replicate various human patient physiology, such as respiration, heartbeat and pulse. Manikins can also simulate a swelling tongue, cry tears, speak prerecorded complaints, blink their eyes and provide a sample for a glucose finger stick test. Another manikin of a newborn baby has an incubator.

She explained that a female manikin in the lab has interchangeable abdomens to simulate pregnancy, birth and post-delivery.

Practical Nursing students Jacob Jackson and Abbie Smith said they attended the meet and greet to see the new simulation lab. They attend classes on GNTC’s Floyd County Campus.

Smith said she is eager to simulate birthing a baby in future classes while Jackson enjoyed interacting with the manikins.

Angela Santiago said she plans to apply for the Practical Nursing program.

Pamela Puryear was excited that the program is reopening in Rock Spring because it is closer to her home. She said credits for nursing classes she had taken in the past have expired, so she wanted to learn more about the program.

Students learn assessment skills, proper medication administration and safety guidelines, communication skills, patient education, disease process, clinical lab skills and other nursing processes as they develop their critical thinking skills, said Blakely Burgess, also an instructor of Practical Nursing at the Walker County Campus.

Because more people are living longer, nurses are a high demand job now, Burgess said. The area healthcare providers with whom she’s spoken are glad the program is back in Rock Spring, too.

Graduates can seek positions with skilled nursing facilities, doctors’ offices, hospitals, home health providers, hospice, assisted living facilities, behavioral health facilities and schools, as well as in private duty nursing and travel nursing, they said.

Julie Pledger, instructor of Practical Nursing, acknowledged the nursing shortage and urged those who attended the meet and greet to consider pursuing the Practical Nursing program.

“We need you,” Pledger said. “We need all of you.”

Applicants must be at least 17 years old for entrance into pre-occupational curriculum and 18 years old for entrance into Nursing and Allied Health Technology programs. They must complete the Request for Eligibility after they have completed all five of the pre-requisite classes with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, take the Nursing HESI A2 entrance exam and meet the required scores, have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on all core curriculum and attend the PN program orientation after acceptance and prior to the first nursing course.

The application deadline for GNTC’s Practical Nursing program is May 30; the first cohort of students on the Walker County Campus will begin classes in fall semester.

For more information, contact Tiffany Nance, Nursing program assistant, at [email protected] or 706-378-1752.

Julie Pledger,
instructor of Practical Nursing, shares deadline information with Ashia McCowan, who has attended Healthcare Assistant classes at GNTC. McCowan said she plans to apply for admission to the Practical Nursing program.