Master of Science in Nursing Program Overview
Georgia College School of Nursing offers a number of options for BSN prepared nurses who are seeking to further their career. Our programs are offered in a fully online format with minimal face to face on campus requirements during the program.
Currently our Master of Science in Nursing Degree offers three majors: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Educator. Also offered is a Post Master’s Certificate for MSN prepared nurses seeking certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner.
The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Program prepares students to provide psychiatric and mental healthcare in a variety of healthcare settings. Students ready to complete this program and qualified to receive this APRN certification are needed to address the severe shortage of psychiatric and mental healthcare providers in Georgia. Research done by the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Rollins School of Public Health shows that there currently are slightly more than 1,000 psychiatrists in the Georgia, which translates to 10.9 psychiatrists per 100,000 people. Almost half of Georgia's 159 counties do not have a psychiatrist. The Georgia Department of Human Resources’ Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases indicate that in 2014 there were 348,040 adults and 158,302 children (ages 9-17) with a severe mental illness or serious emotional disorder in Georgia. Comparatively, the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimated in 2012 that the number of adults with a serious mental illness ranged from 232,000 to 446,000 in Georgia, with an additional 180,000 youth (age 9-17) living with serious emotional disturbance, excluding persons who are homeless or institutionalized. The PMHNP program provides a pathway for students to achieve the highest level of education for the clinically focused nurse; the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Students whose professional goal is a DNP can complete both the MSN/PMHNP and the DNP in only 38 months.
The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program prepares students to provide primary care for the whole family. This master’s option couples theoretical background with evidence-based clinical experiences in a wide variety of community-based practice settings. Students ready to complete this program and qualified to receive this APRN certification are needed to address the severe shortage of primary care providers in Georgia’s 193 Primary Care Healthcare Provider Shortage Areas (HPSAs). It is currently estimated that only 59.01% of Georgia’s primary healthcare needs are being met. The Family Nurse Practitioner program provides a pathway for students to achieve the highest level of education for the clinically focused nurse; the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Students whose professional goal is a DNP can complete both the MSN/FNP and the DNP in only 38 months.
The Nurse Educator program prepares both clinical and academic educators for the teaching role and can be completed in two years. Graduates are prepared to take the AACN national certification exam to become a certified nurse educator (CNE). The curriculum focuses on providing MSN/Nurse Educators with essential skills that clinical agencies and academic settings are seeking in an employee. The Nurse Educator program of study includes informatics; healthcare safety and quality; developing, implementing and evaluating educational programs; using technologies such as high-fidelity simulation. Advanced clinical competency and a more in depth understanding of common disease processes will be an outcome for students as they experience courses in pathophysiology, assessment, and pharmacology. Nurse Educators are needed to address both the critical nursing faculty shortage in the U.S, but also specifically the need for MSN nurses prepared to address the poor health outcomes of the population of Georgia. Georgia consistently ranks worse than other states and the U.S. as a whole in health indicators such as heart disease, respiratory diseases cancer, and diabetes. The Nurse Educator program provides a pathway for students to achieve the highest level of education for the clinically focused nurse; the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Students whose professional goal is a DNP can complete both the MSN/NE and the DNP in only 38 months. Those applying to the DNP program can enroll in NRSG 6900, Graduate Internship, to obtain the remaining clinical hours.
Our MSN programs begin each summer with a weeklong immersion experience enabling you to meet your faculty and fellow students. You are also provided with training that supports and encourages your successful completion of the program.
An example of topics that are covered:
- How to use our library system so that books and journal articles can be delivered directly to your home
- How to connect to your online classroom
- How to navigate the online learning system
- How to meet virtually with your classmates and faculty outside of class time
- How to develop an electronic portfolio of your work
- How to ensure that you are up to date with technology requirements
- How to secure preceptors and clinical sites
- Opportunities for International Study Abroad and Exchange Programs
Didactic classes are held on Thursday and are structured in a variety of formats aimed at engaging the learner and making learning possible for all students. Class formats include:
- Synchronous interactive lecture/discussion via WebEx
- Asynchronous online modules and recorded lectures that can be accessed on your own schedule
The majority of student’s clinical experiences are completed in their home communities with a preceptor that is approved by the School of Nursing (SON). Students are assisted by the SON in securing their own preceptors and arranging their own clinical schedule. Students taking Advanced Assessment during the first semester of the Program are required to be on the Macon Campus for Lab Immersion Week. This 45 hour hands on intensive clinical instruction provides the advanced assessment skills foundation for all FNP, PMHNP and Educator students.
Dr. Deborah MacMillan
Assistant Director Graduate Program
School of Nursing
Macon Graduate Center
Macon, GA 31201