GNTC hosts Practical Nursing program open house

February 7, 2024

Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) hosted an open house for its Practical Nursing program at the Walker County Campus to provide an opportunity to tour the facilities and to meet the instructors and students.

The Practical Nursing (PN) 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-PN exam. Upon passing the NCLEX-PN, the program graduate becomes a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).

“My grandfather did not get good care when he was in a nursing home,” said 16-year-old Maria Thomas. “I am motivated to provide better patient care, but I feel somewhat intimidated because I will be just 17 when I start college classes.”

Thomas said she attended the event because she plans to graduate early from The Dalton Academy to study to be a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). She is also exploring careers as a pharmacy technician and LPN. 

Kinaysha Cordero said she has completed pre-requisites and has scheduled the Health Education Systems Incorporated (HESI) exam so that she can be part of the fall 2024 cohort of Practical Nursing students.

“First, I took Medical Assisting, and now I’m interested in furthering my education. Eventually I want to be a Registered Nurse,” Cordero said. “I have been interested in the medical field since I was a young kid.”

Lauren Vosika, GNTC Practical Nursing instructor (right), explains to Audrey Powell (left) and Maleah Smith how the Pyxsis MedStation dispenses medication for patients.
Lauren Vosika, GNTC Practical Nursing instructor (right), explains to Audrey Powell (left) and Maleah Smith how the Pyxsis MedStation dispenses medication for patients.

GNTC relaunched the Practical Nursing program at the Walker County Campus in Rock Spring for the fall 2023 semester. GNTC also offers the PN program at the college’s Floyd County Campus in Rome

Lauren Vosika, an instructor of Practical Nursing at the Walker County Campus, 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. A female manikin in the lab has interchangeable abdomens to simulate pregnancy, birth and post-delivery.

“We try to set up the labs similar to what you will use,” Vosika said. She explained how instruction starts with basics, such as the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), the correct method for washing hands and the steps to change a patient’s bed.

Students learn assessment skills, proper medication administration and safety guidelines, communication skills, patient education, disease process, clinical lab skills and other nursing processes, Vosika said. They also develop critical thinking skills.

GNTC is accepting applications for the Practical Nursing fall 2024 cohort until June 15.

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 at a GNTC campus 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.

For more information, contact Blakely Burgess, instructor of Practical Nursing, at 706-764-3839; Melinda Chapman, instructor of Practical Nursing, at 706-764-3854; or Lauren Vosika, instructor of Practical Nursing, at 706-764-3851.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma or a certificate in aviation, business, health, industrial or public service career paths. This past year, 11,601 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. GNTC has an annual credit enrollment of 8,071 students and an additional enrollment of 3,530 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training and Georgia Quick Start. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

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