While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found 17,650 RNs in West Virginia in 2010, a West Virginia Center for Nursing survey found that only 10,560 RNs actually worked in the state the same year. Hospital job openings are fairly low in West Virginia, ranging from no open positions to an RN vacancy rate of about eight percent. Even so, hospitals reported in the survey that it remains challenging to recruit a sufficient number of experienced RNs for positions in ICU, emergency and operating rooms, obstetrics, rehab, and mental health.
RNs who want to move into specialty areas or into management and leadership positions may want to consider working toward their BSN degrees. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing finds BSN-prepared nurses gain valuable skills such as critical thinking, leadership, case management, and health promotion. It's easier than you may think to obtain your BSN degree through some of the state's innovative programs.
Schools to consider
West Virginia University (Morgantown, Charleston, Montgomery). This program may be completed in three semesters of full-time study, although part-time study is also available. All nursing courses are offered online, with 28 credits of nursing coursework required for graduation. Courses include genetics, genomics, evidence-based practice, and research.
Marshall University (Huntington). Nursing classes are online and required clinical hours can be completed in the student's own community. The program may be completed in four semesters of full-time study (11 to 14 credits per semester). Admission is twice yearly. Classes include evidence-based practice, community health, and transcultural health care.
Salem International University (Salem). This RN to BSN program is online and can be completed at the student's own pace. According to the University, courses emphasize evidence-based practice; leadership and management strategies; communication and informatics; health promotion, maintenance and restoration; and diverse client populations across the lifespan.