Overview of WV Nursing Education and Careers
For many people, a career isn’t just a job choice. It’s the chance to make a difference, to do something meaningful, and to change the community. Becoming a nurse is a way to do all of this and more. Nursing professionals are one of the most important parts of West Virginia’s health care industry, particularly in light of West Virginia’s very large rural population. Nurses allow clinics and hospitals to provide affordable and practical care to patients without overextending doctors.
Contact the schools below to learn about nursing programs in West Virginia.
Becoming a nurse can be a great way to become a part of a professional community and contribute to the strength of society. One local nursing school hosts an annual Inter Professional Education Day. This experience allows nursing students to learn how to work together as part of a team and react to numerous clinical situations.
Furthermore, you can contribute to public health efforts that can change the health of West Virginia residents. Local nursing professional Amy Bruce has made it her mission to teach West Virginia residents about melanoma and how to prevent it through simple measures.
Working as a Nurse in West Virginia
With your educational requirements completed, it’s time to earn your license via the West Virginia RN Board. The RN Board administers licenses after checking your educational background, your clinical hours, and your NCLEX score.
In general, job growth rates for nursing jobs are very exciting. Between 2012 and 2022, O*Net predicts a 25% increase in licensed practical nursing jobs. Registered nurses may experience a 19% increase in job openings in the same time frame (O*Net, 2012).
Your salary potential may increase as you gain more and more education. According to BLS.gov, the average salary for a West Virginia LPN is $36,300 per year (2016). In the field of registered nursing, the average salary is $59,380 per year (BLS, 2016).
Some of the top employers of Registered Nurses in West Virginia include Charleston Area Medical Center General Hospital, Ruby Memorial Hospital, Wheeling Hospital, Saint Mary’s Medical Center, and Cabell Huntington Hospital.
Becoming a Nurse in West Virginia
While you prepare to start your education, you may want to look into different nursing programs in West Virginia. The shortest option is a LPN program, which leads to the job title of licensed practical nurse and requires approximately one year of study. The next step up is an Associate’s degree in nursing, which leads to a registered nursing license. A Bachelor’s degree, which is comprised of four years of study, also permits you to earn an RN license.
Once you’ve chosen a nursing program, you can begin applying for financial aid. The West Virginia Health Care Association awards scholarships worth $500 to $2,250. You may also apply for grants through the West Virginia Center for Nursing. West Virginia PROMISE is a state-funded merit-based scholarship program.
When you start your education, you may enroll in several different nursing courses. Your curriculum can include courses like Health Assessment and Communication, Foundations of Nursing Practice, Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice, Pharmacology, Ethics in Health Care Careers, and Nursing in Community Systems.
Nursing Degree Programs in West Virginia
Find pages with more information on the specific programs that interest you by clicking on the links below.
Transition programs for nurses:
Graduate programs for nurses:
- All Masters in Nursing Programs in WV
- All DNP and PhD in Nursing Programs in WV
- All Nurse Practitioner Programs in WV
Entry level nursing programs:
Expert Advice from the West Virginia Nurses Association
We reached out to the Director of the West Virginia Nurses Association, Ruth Blevins, to provide you with honest information on the industry today in WV. Be sure to read through all of her answers, and click the links below for schools that accept from your area.
What is the outlook for people who are interested in nursing careers in West Virginia?
Nursing is a growing career field, and there is ever more need for registered nurses in West Virginia as the nursing population is aging and starting to leave the field. All across the state there is a very favorable outlook for nurses looking for jobs, including a great need for Nurse Educators.
How does your organization help those who have chosen nursing as their career?
The West Virginia Nurses Association is the voice for all nurses in the state. The organization aids the nursing industry by protecting the quality of the industry through various forms of legislation. It is the only accredited organization approved by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in WV to provide quality nursing education.
The WVNA is a membership organization that can be obtained through an annual fee. The benefits of joining the WVNA can be very rewarding. Membership entitles you to a say in the direction that the association heads when it comes various health policies. Members also have the opportunity to be appointed to various health care board positions. Additionally, membership allows you the ability to hold a position on the WVNA board and the American Nurses Association board. Finally, members can earn over 40 free continuing education credits and receive reduced rates on certifications.
The association also maintains a list of various nursing scholarships, grants, and loan forgiveness programs. There is also great opportunity to receive school loan assistance for nurses that choose to work in under-served populations of West Virginia.
What advice do you have for individuals trying to choose the right program?
Many that choose to go into nursing often do so because of a connection of a family member or friend that already works in the industry. These individuals often have an idea of what they want to do before they pursue their education. Often, these individuals will choose to start with their basic education at the vocational or practical nursing level to get into the industry more quickly. From there they will choose to continue their education starting at the RN level and working their way up. This route allows nurses to work in the industry first to really get an idea of the path that they wish to take, which can sometimes deviate from their original intentions.
Nursing has come a long way, and there are various types of specialties an individual can pursue as well as a variety of places to work. Whatever the specialty, nursing is considered a lifelong learning industry whether it is through higher education or just continuing education programs.
What are some of the benefits of choosing a career in nursing?
Nursing is a very rewarding career and you can see the results immediately. It’s a field that shows continual compassion, and you get to constantly educate your clientele. It has been said that nursing is one of the top ten most trusted professions in the country because of the constant contact and care that nurses provide to people, always trying to keep a patient’s best interests at heart. Nurses are advocates for patients who deserve safe, affordable, compassionate healthcare.
– Ruth Blevins, Director of the West Virginia Nurses Association