West Virginia MetroNews Network - With one of the lowest workforce participation rates in the country, West Virginia needs jobs. On a constant search and offering sign-on bonuses of tens of thousands of dollars, West Virginia’s hospitals desperately need nurses. It’s getting the two needs to align that’s the real trick for potential employees, medical facilities and the colleges where prospective nurses go to be trained.
“We have a significant nursing shortage in West Virginia,” said Sarah Tucker, the state’s chancellor for Community and Technical College Education. “It’s a national problem, but we have a big one for sure.”
..Because the shortage of locally-produced nurses is so profound, state medical providers have to dip into a pool of traveling nurses who are contracted through companies. The medical facilities are thankful for the help, but the traveling nurses — because of demand and the need to be flexible — come at a greater cost than nurses produced in-state.
..So here’s the big question: Can West Virginia bridge the gap between the number of nurses it needs while helping to improve employment opportunities for state residents?
..Nursing schools are trying to give prospective students flexibility by offering more classes at night or on weekends, she said. “We’re having to look at things differently,” she said. “We have a weekend program. Every other week, the students come to class and then are taught hybrid, online courses. We’re seeing three times the number of applicants for that program. Students can work. It’s teaching a nontraditional student market.
Read the entire story... West Virginia MetroNews Network