Health System Plans Initiative To Increase Nurses

Nursing students in a simulation lab at the University of Virginia School of Nursing.

The West Virginia University Health System plans to launch an initiative that will increase the number of nurses in the state, officials said.

WVU Health President and CEO Albert Wright Jr. told theCharleston Gazette-Mail’s “Outside the Echo Chamber” that the system plans to start an associate’s degree nursing program. Wright said the aim is to alleviate a “particularly challenging” nursing shortage in the state.

“The only way we fix the nursing shortage is to drastically and systematically increase the number of nurses we’re producing,” he said.

Wright said the initiative will be based in Morgantown but will have cohorts around the state that will help recent high school graduates complete an associate’s degree quickly and begin working.

WVU Health partnered with Thomas Health earlier this year making it the state’s largest health system.

Multiple new programs have been announced since Gov. Jim Justice cited the nursing shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic when he announced in December that the state would use federal stimulus funding to aggressively recruit and train nurses over the next four years.