Health System Launches South Georgia's Only Nurse Re-Entry Program

BRUNSWICK, Georgia: Aug. 19, 2008 – Southeast Georgia Health System recently launched its Nurse Re-Entry Program. The program, which was approved by the Georgia State Board of Nursing, allows nurses who have either not been in clinical practice for three or more years and/or have let his or her nursing license lapse, re-enter the field of bedside nursing.

According to Laura Grantham, RN, director of nursing practice, until the Health System’s program began this summer, the closest program of its kind was in Kennesaw, Ga., approximately 330 miles north of Brunswick. “We (Health System administration) saw the need locally and decided to form our own program,” says Grantham, who developed the Health System’s curriculum. “Our program runs approximately 12 weeks and we require students to complete 66 didactic (instructional) hours and 168 clinical hours. The state only requires that a program have 40 hours and 120 hours respectively, but we decided to include other components that would meet the nursing needs of the area.” Those additional components include familiarizing the participants with the Health System’s automated documentation processes, infection control standards, national patient safety goals, and a refresher in medication administration.

Vice President of Patient Care Services, Ellen Hamilton, RN, FACHE, also adds that participants complete all of their clinical hours in the general medical/surgical area. “They can’t specialize in an area until they successfully complete the program,” she says. “This allows them to regain their competence in their patient care skills.”

Nurses that do successfully complete the program will be offered a job with the Health System and if he or she accepts the position, they will not have to pay the $6,600 cost of the program as long as they work for the Health System for at least one year. “This program allows us to bring back seasoned nurses to help meet our need of recruiting more nurses into the Health System,” Hamilton says. “In turn, this allows us to better meet the health care needs of the community.”