Becoming an RN in West Virginia

Nursing has always been a well-respected field, attractive to caring, people-centered students. Like other high stakes professions, it has also had its share of stresses. Faced with an increasing demand for professional nurses, the state of West Virginia has been working to make the field more attractive than ever. This has included instituting a workforce center to study workplace issues and developing a residency model to help graduate nurses make the school to work transition.

A person becomes a professional nurse, or RN, by completing an approved degree program. West Virginia currently has ten approved BSN courses and twelve approved ADN programs. Both courses of study prepare a candidate to practice at the professional level in pediatric, obstetric, mental health, or adult medical/ surgical nursing. The BSN typically also includes more advanced nursing coursework that is applicable to community health and management positions as well as to clinical practice.

After degree completion, nursing graduates must take and pass a board examination called the NCLEX-RN. Questions about character and legal history are also included on the licensing application.

Registered Nursing Pre-Licensure Entry Paths

Prior life experiences and education will make it easier for some people to get their RN license. The state has several accelerated BSN programs for professionals who already have a BS or BA in another field.

Previous experience in health care is also valued. There are bridge programs designed especially for LPNs. These are called LPN to ADN or LPN to BSN programs. Even if a course isn’t labeled LPN to RN, a practical nurse may be able to challenge some courses, which in the end will cut down on the length of the course.

Second degree BSN programs are another option for those holding a bachelor’s degree in another field. These programs are also frequently referred to as accelerated BSN programs. A student may need to complete additional prerequisites in general studies like composition and sciences before being considered for admission. If, though, she/he has a broad general studies background with classes in psychology and physiology (at the appropriate level) his/her path may shortened. Registered Nursing licensure candidates should be aware that there may be a fee associated with the licensure exam.

CNA experience is also regarded as a sign of nursing aptitude and commitment. Some programs, for example, the one at West Virginia Northern Community College, require that applicants be registered nursing assistants prior to admission to their RN program. Certification does not necessarily have to be in the state of West Virginia.

Registered Nursing Career Outlook in West Virginia

West Virginia expects a high demand for nurses in the years to come. This is due to changing demographics and increased need for health care services. Concerned with potential shortfalls, the state is even reaching out to middle school students, hoping to get them excited about the possibility of a career in nursing.

Short term economic factors do influence job prospects in West Virginia. What can you expect if you are entering the workforce in the near future? A 2010 survey reported RN vacancy rates by geographic location. The situation varied greatly from district to district. Districts 1, 3, and 4 had significant vacancy rates. Interestingly, these regions represent a wide range of communities, both urban and rural. The workforce center had a difficult time pinpointing commonalities.

The report indicated that relatively high turnover rates occurred in regions that bordered metropolitan areas in other states. Presumably some experienced nurses were leaving positions in these areas to work for higher wages elsewhere.

The Application Process for Nursing School

Nursing schools take a variety of factors into consideration when making admission decisions. These include general academic achievement, achievement in prerequisite courses, health care experience, and other life experiences. A representative of HOSA (the Health Occupations Students Association) notes that schools like well-rounded candidates.

Some schools do publish their admission point system. At Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College, students are awarded points for ACT scores, A or B grades in prerequisites, and allied health certifications. If you are a CNA, for example, you will get some additional points. There is an RN entrance exam, and students who don’t meet the cut-off score won’t be considered for admission, no matter how well they performed in other academic areas.

There is no standardized admission process, even at the community college level. Some schools may ask an NLN-RN score of 96, others 100.

State Approved ADN Programs in West Virginia

Salem University – Salem, WV

Graduates of the ADN program are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN Licensure exam.

Programs Offered: Associate’s Nursing

Salem University – Main Campus, 223 West Main Street, Salem, WV 26426

BLUEFIELD STATE COLLEGE
219 ROCK STREET
BLUEFIELD, WV 24701
304-327-4136
BLUE RIDGE COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE
400 WEST STEPHEN STREET
MARTINSBURG, WV 25401
304-260-4380 EXT. 2362
DAVIS AND ELKINS COLLEGE
100 CAMPUS DRIVE
ELKINS, WV 26241
304-637-1314
FAIRMONT STATE UNIVERSITY
1201 LOCUST AVENUE
FAIRMONT, WV 26554
304-367-4133
SAINT MARY’S HOSPITAL/MARSHALL UNIVERSITY COOPERATIVE ASN PROGRAM
2900 FIRST AVENUE
HUNTINGTON, WV 25702
304-526-1415
SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA COMMUNITY & TECHNICAL COLLEGE
BOX 2900
MT. GAY, WV 25637
304-896-7317
UNIVERSITY OF CHARLESTON
2300 MACCORKLE AVENUE, SE
CHARLESTON, WV 25304
304-357-4855
WEST VIRGINIA NORTHERN COMMUNITY COLLEGE
1704 MARKET STREET
WHEELING, WV 26003-3699
304-233-5900 EXT. 5556
WEST VIRGINIA STATE COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE
307 COLE COMPLEX

INSTITUTE, WV 25112
304-766-5242
WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY AT PARKERSBURG
300 CAMPUS DRIVE
PARKERSBURG, WV 26104
304-424-8300
  

(Source: West Virginia RN Board)

Approved BSN Programs in West Virginia

ALDERSON-BROADDUS COLLEGE
PO BOX 2033
PHILIPPI, WV 26416
304-457-6285
MARSHALL UNIVERSITY
PRICHARD HALL 423
ONE JOHN MARSHALL WAY
HUNTINGTON, WV 25701
304-696-5272
MOUNTAIN STATE UNIVERSITY
PO BOX 9003
BECKLEY, WV 25802
304-929-1307
SHEPHERD UNIVERSITY
PO BOX 3210
SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV 25443
304-876-5341
UNIVERSITY OF CHARLESTON
2300 MACCORKLE AVE. SE
CHARLESTON, WV 25304
(304) 357-4855
WEST LIBERTY STATE COLLEGE
WEST LIBERTY, WV 26074
304-336-8108
WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY
P.O. BOX 9600
MORGANTOWN, WV 26506
304-293-4831
WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY, INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
405 FAYETTE PIKE
MONTOGOMERY, WV 25136
304-442-3346
WEST VIRGINIA WESLEYAN COLLEGE
59 COLLEGE AVENUE
BUCKHANNON, WV 26201
304-473-8224
WHEELING JESUIT UNIVERSITY
316 WASHINGTON AVENUE
WHEELING, WV 26003
304-243-2344