A master's degree in nursing can be an avenue to greater opportunities and higher pay in the health care industry. As a nursing graduate student in West Virginia, you can prepare for a career like a nurse practitioner, nursing administrator, midwife, and nurse educator.
Across the nation, an aging patient population and an influx of new patients into the health care system have prompted experts to forecast a growing demand for workers in the coming years. These health care trends are much the same in West Virginia, creating an opening for nurses with advanced training to fill vital primary care jobs around the state.
If you are ready to earn your MSN degree, have a look at the West Virginia nursing programs below. Request information from those Master's in Nursing programs that interest you to begin.
If you are looking to earn your MSN, West Virginia has a strong need for master's-prepared nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists. The state, like so many others, is facing a physician shortage, especially in the state's rural areas. Nurse practitioners who are willing to work in rural communities should be able to find ample job opportunities.
Master's in Nursing Options in West Virginia
As the patient population in West Virginia is aging, the average age of primary care workers in the state is increasing as well, according to a 2013 report by the West Virginia Rural Health Association. When these workers retire, the state will need a steady supply of younger employees to take their places in the health care field. Many West Virginia residents already are experiencing shortages in primary care, and the federal government has designated 62 areas in the state as medically underserved.
With master's degree training, you can help to address the need for health care workers and for nursing educators within the state. You can find programs to earn your MSN degree online, or attend one of the campus based programs in West Virginia.
West Virginia University offers an online program that prepares advanced practice nurses for specialty occupations such as family nurse practitioners, pediatric nurse practitioners and nursing administrators. With real-time web casting, these courses are accessible on your home computer or laptop. Classes are scheduled in late afternoon to accommodate busy schedules. In addition to online work, you also may be asked to attend meetings in Morgantown several times during a semester.
Core courses for all master's students include advanced pathophysiology, concepts of advanced nursing, and health policy and finance. Individual majors require additional specialized courses. For example, family practitioners take classes in primary care for rural families and advanced assessment. The nursing leadership degree requires courses in health care informatics and system-based decision-making. Clinical or practicum hours also are required.
At Marshall University, you can choose from several different advanced practice nursing careers – family nurse practitioner, nursing administration, nursing education, nurse midwifery, and psychiatric mental health nursing.
The family practitioner program combines classroom work with online, laboratory, and clinical hours to prepare you for primary care jobs. Because of the state's emphasis on helping underserved people in the community, every student must have some experience with these populations. As a nursing administration student, you would train for health care leadership positions and prepare for the national certification examination. The nursing education program gives you the training you need to teach future nursing students in classroom and clinical settings.
The school's nurse midwifery and psychiatric mental health programs are both offered in conjunction with Shenandoah University in Richmond, Virginia. Both of these programs are designed to prepare you for national certification exams.
The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at Wheeling Jesuit is offered entirely online, and requirements for clinical hours are completed in your own community. As a Wheeling student, you can select courses leading to a career as a family nurse practitioner, a nursing administrator, or a nursing education specialist.
The school requires core courses for every discipline, including nursing research, health care policy, health promotion, and advanced health assessment. Each specialty area has additional requirements tailored to that degree. If you choose an administration track, you will take classes like financial management and organizational behavior. As a prospective educator, you will study educational technology and curriculum instruction. If you want to be a nurse practitioner, you will enroll in primary care and advanced pharmacology classes.
Scholarship opportunities in West Virginia can ease your financial burden. The West Virginia Center for Nursing has a MSN and Doctoral Scholarship program that focuses on helping current nursing faculty who are earning advanced degrees while working full-time. To be eligible for these awards, you must be a resident of the state and must make a commitment to continue to work in West Virginia. The program is designed to attract and keep nurse educators in the state.
Working with your Master's in Nursing in WV
Hospitals in West Virginia are actively seeking out MSN-prepared nurses. According to a 2010 survey of 53 hospitals, vacancy rates for master's-level advanced practice nurses (APNs) ranged from 0 to 5.8 percent.
While most advanced practice nurses in West Virginia are nurse practitioners or CRNAs, the state also has substantial numbers of certified nurse midwives (CNMs), certified nurse administrators and clinical nurse specialists (CNSs).
Earning a master's degree in nursing can help you to find jobs in several professions with strong job projections and good pay. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists are all expected to grow at a rate that is much faster than average.
Professional organizations for advanced practice nurses in West Virginia include the Advanced Practice Council of West Virginia. Certified nurse administrators may be interested in the West Virginia Association of Directors of Nursing Administrators.
MSN programs for West Virginia nurses include:
- Wheeling Jesuit University. At Wheeling, MSN students can prepare for careers as nurse administrators, nurse education specialists or family nurse practitioners. An RN-to-MSN option is ideal for ADN nurses who would like to pursue a high-level nursing career, while the BSN-to-MSN program is for nurses who already have a bachelor's degree.
- West Virginia University. West Virginia U offers a variety of MSN online nurse practitioner programs, including family nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner and women's health nurse practitioners. The school also offers a MSN degree in nursing leadership.