Overview of Nursing in Georgia
Georgia is a state of duality. Urban areas in the north near the state’s capitol of Atlanta meet with deeply rural areas in the south to create a southern mix of the new and the old. This means that Georgia offers the best of both worlds depending on location and what a resident is looking for; yet it also indicates that the state creates particular struggles for its economic and social well-being.
Most critical of these challenges is the nursing shortage that Georgia faces, a scarcity that over the last decade has been one of the worst in the nation. Those who do work as RNs, LPNs, and CNAs in the state play an integral role in transforming a region of juxtaposed health and disease into one of unified wellness and a progressive future.
Prospective Outlook in Georgia Nursing
Georgia is home sweet home to 64,000 registered nurses and 23,000 LPNs but is in need of many more as several thousand of these are over the age of 55 and getting close to retirement. In addition to this factor, the health of the state’s citizens hangs in the balance and continues to decline in the most rural areas.
There are many state incentives to keep nurses who have been educated and licensed in Georgia employed within the state, including loan repayment plans and scholarships. Most appealing is that the average RN salary in Georgia is among the highest in the southeast at around $61,000 annually. This number must only keep increasing in order to pull in and sustain nurses in Georgia from all over the country.
Jobs and Licensing for Georgia Nurses
More than 50 schools in the Georgia collegiate system offer everything from basic LPN/LVN certificates to prestigious graduate nursing degrees like those available through the Emory University Woodruff School of Nursing. Colleges like Gordon College in Barnesville offer Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees in their nursing program, while schools like Griffin Technical College have entry-level diploma programs perfect for the beginning student interested in nursing.
Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta is home to Nurse Practitioner programming, including concentrations that specialize in working with families and in dealing with children. Also in North Georgia is Kennesaw State University, which claims its spot as the largest nursing school in that half of the state and offers a smorgasbord of nursing accreditation options.
Top employers like Dekalb Medical and Emory Healthcare make Atlanta the metropolitan hub of hospital and care activity within the state. But often the sheer deficit of rural doctors in smaller towns like Plains and Thomaston makes these the places most in need of nursing assistance. The Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Nurses Association work together to advance nursing education, enforce strict and consistent standards of care throughout the state, encourage their workforce and advocate for policy change when appropriate.
The Georgia Board of Nursing is the informative source that will hold all the facts, applications, and news updates that you as a prospective nurse need to know. The Peach State’s Board is responsible for licensing and holding its RNs and APNs to high standards and maintaining the quality of Georgia’s clinics and hospital centers. Examination information and online applications for nursing licenses can be found on their helpful website.
Average Salaries for Nurses in Georgia
|Data from BLS 2012||10th Percentile||50th Percentile||90th Percentile|
|Licensed Practical Nurses||$27,170.00||$36,490.00||$47,110.00|
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, Occupational Employment Statistics, and Employment Projections http://www.bls.gov/
The American Health Care Association http://www.ahcancal.org/research_data/
Kaiser Family Foundation http://statehealthfacts.org/
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation http://rwjf.org/