GSW announces nursing program expansion to address South Georgia’s critical nursing shortage
Published 4:10 pm Thursday, February 7, 2019
AMERICUS — Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) recently announced an expansion of its nursing program that will effectively double the number of students entering the program each year to help address the critical shortage of nurses in the state of Georgia.
Beginning with the 2019-2020 academic year, GSW’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences will open a second nursing enrollment period that will allow an additional cohort of students to enter the program during spring semester. Currently, a single enrollment period each fall admits 40 students into the nursing program. The second enrollment period will double the number of enrolled students and nursing graduates.
“This is an exciting time for aspiring nursing students to come to GSW,” said College of Nursing and Health Sciences Dean Sandra Daniel, Ph.D. “By creating a culture and momentum for success, we anticipate more applicants to and graduates from our nursing program who will be instrumental in addressing the nursing workforce needs in our region and across the state.”
The shortage of registered nurses in Georgia has reached a critical level in recent years which continues to worsen. According to the Georgia Nurses Association, statistics are showing a potential shortage of 50,000 RNs in Georgia by the year 2030. The shortage can be attributed to the rapid growth of the state’s population and the elderly population who are living longer, sometimes with chronic conditions, and are putting a strain on the health system. Portions of South Georgia are showing more nursing jobs available than qualified applicants to fill them.
“Our students receive most of their clinical educational experiences in the southwest Georgia region, predominantly within the Phoebe Health System, the largest health system in our region which serves a large rural population of the state,” said Daniel. “The breadth and quality of the clinical experiences within the system’s facilities provide our students with the competencies needed to enter the nursing workforce.”
“We’re excited to be able to expand our nursing program to help the state of Georgia close the gap in the field of nursing,” said GSW President Neal Weaver. “GSW is committed to meeting the workforce needs of our region, and we hope this expansion will create new momentum for student success on our campus.”
The expansion will also affect GSW’s Guaranteed Acceptance Program (GAP), which allows students the opportunity to be accepted into the nursing program before graduating from high school. With more seats available in the program, GAP will be able to guarantee spots in the program to more high school students.
Nursing faculty will focus on providing the needed support and preparation for pre-nursing students to be successful as a nursing student, including a living and learning community for students in GSW’s residence halls, extensive advising, and intentional engagement and support during the transition to GSW and into the nursing program.
Students who participate in GAP and meet the required benchmarks are guaranteed entry into the nursing program upon completion of their pre-nursing curriculum. GAP students will also receive a $1,000 on-campus housing scholarship during their freshman and sophomore years of study, thanks to the generous support from the John and Betty Pope Fund for the Future of Caregiving. Eligibility for the program depends on a combination of GPA and SAT/ACT scores. Interested students are encouraged to go to our website at www.gsw.edu for more specific details about program requirements.