Northeast Georgia Medical Center
The COMPASS Program

Helping Committed, Compassionate Senior Students

Description of the Organization or Practice Setting

Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is a non-profit community health system dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of the people of Northeast Georgia. NGHS is anchored by Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s (NGMC) four hospital campuses – NGMC Gainesville, NGMC Braselton, NGMC Barrow, and NGMC Lumpkin with a total of 723 beds and more than 700 medical staff members representing more than 50 specialties.

Program Length

The COMPASS Program is 12-weeks in length. The senior nursing student (or any RN student who has completed the Fundamentals of Nursing Course) will work full-time during the 12-week period. The senior nursing students will be called COMPASS PCTs. At the end of the 12 weeks, the COMPASS PCT will be considered to continue working in the role of Patient Care Tech in a system PRN role, if desired.

Scope of Program

The COMPASS PCT Program supports the nursing student’s transition into the clinical setting. The Program will be managed by the Resource Pool partnered with Educational Services. The COMPASS PCTs will be assigned to Medical and Surgical units based on need. They will be oriented and work at NGMC Gainesville and NGMC Braselton.

Number of Senior Nursing Students Accepted

40 eligible nursing students will be accepted for the 2021 summer COMPASS Program. 20 will work on the day (7a-7p) shift and 20 will work on the night (7p-7a) shift. The position is full time (0.9 FTE), three 12 hour shifts weekly, and is non-benefited.

Eligibility Criteria for Program Applicants

  • Enrolled in an accredited RN program and have successfully completed the Fundamentals of Nursing Course
  • 3.0 or higher overall GPA
  • Valid Basic Life Support Certification through the American Heart Association

Program Goals

  • Provide practical patient care and hospital experience for COMPASS PCTs
    • Acquire the knowledge and skills to deliver safe, quality care
    • Focus on the Medical and Surgical specialties to provide a strong foundation for future nursing practice
  • Minimize risk of harm to patients through individual performance
  • Function effectively within the nursing teams by fostering open communication and mutual respect to achieve quality care
  • Recognize the patient (or designee) as the source of control and full partner in providing compassionate and coordinated care based on respect for the patient’s preferences, values, and needs
  • Use information and technology to communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error, and support decision making
  • Work with shift primary nurse to learn to integrate best current evidence, patient/family preferences, values for delivery of optimal health care, and use data to monitor the outcomes of care processes
  • Decrease RN vacancy rate
  • Recruit for the RN Residency Program
  • Provide for the effective transition and training for the COMPASS PCT

Mission, Vision, Values

Mission: Improving the health of our community in all we do.

Vision: We will be the preferred and indispensable healthcare resource throughout Northeast Georgia.

Values: NGHS prides itself on four core values, all of which help us achieve our mission of improving the health of our community in all we do. These values shape the daily interactions between our physicians, staff, volunteers, board members, patients, and their loved ones. The four core values are:

  • Respectful Compassion: I impact life’s most sacred moments
  • Deep Interdependence: I can’t do my job without you
  • Responsible Stewardship: What I do today ensures tomorrow
  • Passion for Excellence: I bring my best every day


The COMPASS PCTs attend an organizational orientation which includes general orientation, clinical orientation, unlicensed orientation, and Electronic Health Record (EHR) training (Exceptions include current employees who have attended any of these sessions).

Week One

  • Monday 0800-1600 – General Orientation
  • Tuesday 0800-1600 – Clinical Orientation
  • Wednesday 0800-1600 – Unlicensed Orientation
  • Thursday 0830-1230 – PCT Epic Training/ 1300-1700 COMPASS Orientation
  • Friday 0900-1530 – Computer lab time for SuccessFactors modules and tour of NGMC Braselton

Week Two

  • Three 12-hour shifts on the floor with a preceptor

Week Three

  • One 12-hour shift on the floor with a preceptor
  • Two 12-hour shifts working independently in the role of PCT

Weeks Four – Twelve

  • Three 12-hour shifts per week working independently in the role of PCT