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WVU Medicine Center for Nursing Excellence to launch Aspiring Nurse Program

 Associate degree students receive up to $25K in financial support for three-year work commitment

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The WVU Medicine Center for Nursing Excellence will launch a new initiative – the Aspiring Nurse Program – with two community colleges in the South Charleston and Parkersburg areas this fall.

While in most cases tuition support already exists for these students in terms of student loans, grants, and scholarships, the Aspiring Nurse Program will provide each student with up to $25,000 to support their real needs: day-to-day life expenses.

“As the largest employer in West Virginia and serving communities in several other bordering states, we want to offer creative, comprehensive, and competitive opportunities to attract and retain the best nurses who will share our commitment for excellence in patient care. Our vision is to improve the quality of and access to care by increasing the pipeline of nurses,” Melanie Heuston, D.N.P., R.N., N.E.A.-B.C., chief nurse executive for the WVU Health System, said.

“What we’ve heard from many students is that they are working two jobs to support themselves while they’re in school and are one flat tire away from having to drop out. The Aspiring Nurse Program will help to alleviate some of the financial stress the students are under so they can focus their time and energy on completing their education.”

The first cohort of students will be nursing students at BridgeValley Community and Technical College in South Charleston and West Virginia University at Parkersburg. Clinical rotations will be done at WVU Medicine hospitals to ensure students are getting top-notch, hands-on clinical immersive experiences that will help them as they transition to practice. BridgeValley students will be partnered with WVU Medicine Thomas Hospitals, and WVU-Parkersburg students will be partnered with WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center.

Those selected for the Program will receive $5,000 for each of the four semesters they’re in school plus a $5,000 sign-on bonus upon hire in exchange for a three-year work commitment with their respective hospitals after graduation. The hospitals and schools will not only support students financially throughout the program, but through human-centered approaches with academic success coaches and retention specialists.

“BridgeValley is thrilled to participate in the Aspiring Nurse Program with WVU Medicine. This is a wonderful opportunity for our students,” Casey K. Sacks, Ph.D., president of BridgeValley, said. “Not all programs have the opportunity for learners to get paid while they are going to school. The Aspiring Nurse Program does just that: pays students to be students in the BridgeValley nursing program.”

“WVUP believes the most significant thing a community college can do is be a good community partner. When we collaborate with local businesses to meet their needs and, at the same time, provide amazing opportunities for students, then we are fulfilling our mission,” Torie Jackson, Ed.D., president of WVU-Parkersburg, said. “We believe purposeful and planned training of a workforce will elevate the Mid-Ohio Valley and the entire state of West Virginia, and we are honored to partner with WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center.”

The Center for Nursing Excellence is working on additional partnerships in the Northern Panhandle, Eastern Panhandle, and southern portions of the state with a targeted roll out as early as January 2024.

For more information on the WVU Medicine Aspiring Nurse Program, click here. You can also find the application for the program here.