LOGAN, W.Va. — A hybrid online nursing program that Chad Callen, the CEO at West Virginia Junior College says will ‘open up access’ to the profession was celebrated on Tuesday.
West Virginia Junior College (WVJC) and Logan Regional Medical Center (LRMC) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new partnership targeted at solving a nursing shortage and rural healthcare issues in the state. The 18-month program was launched to initially serve 19 rural counties in West Virginia.
“We don’t have enough nurses and it’s not looking like it will get better. We need more nurses and we need them quickly,” Callen told MetroNews.
Individuals enrolled in the program take classes online while attending lab and clinical experiences in their local regions during evenings and weekends. A Mobile Nursing Lab will enhance the educational experience, allowing students to practice their skills with advanced healthcare simulation technology, a release stated.
The WVJC Mobile Nursing lab – a 38-foot specialty-use vehicle which has been retrofitted with two simulated hospital rooms containing high-fidelity simulation technology for adult, obstetrics, and pediatrics – was available for tours after the ribbon cutting.
LRMC was identified along with Greenbrier Valley medical Center, Roane General Hospital and Davis Medical Center in Elkins as locations with the greatest need.
“Our entire state is experiencing a nursing shortage,” stated David Brash, CEO at LRMC. “This partnership allows us to network directly with and train students at our own hospital so they can work with us immediately after graduating.”
Callen said he expects the full cohort of students to begin the program next month. He added that he believes that the hybrid-online delivery method is the future of education.
“The ability to operate a school within the employer provides a better experience for the student because they are getting more real-world experience, but it also creates a relationship and cultural connection between the student and employer which is good for the employer,” Callen said.
There are also many other nursing partnerships and expansions happening around the state. Gov. Justice dedicated $48 million to the West Virginia Nursing Workforce Expansion Program. These include 26 nursing education programs at colleges, universities, schools of nursing, and career technical schools across West Virginia.