During their Community Health Course, nursing students in the WVJC Morgantown ADN program participate in a Mass Casualty Incident Simulation at WV STEPS. Students teamed up to quickly assess and triage the patients in this simulation training. Triaging prioritizes patients in the order patients need to be handled to increase efficiency. As a nurse, prioritization is critical for effective and efficient care of patients. Check out the video below to see our nursing students in action!
Cody Joe has been in the medical field since the age of 19, working as a paramedic. While working as an EMS, he was able to help patients in some very significant ways and make a positive impact on their lives. During that time, Cody realized he wanted to make even more of an impact with patients, and he believes that by becoming a nurse, he will be able to spend more time with each patient catering to their specific needs.
Cody attends WVJC full time and works full time as a paramedic, but he doesn’t stop there. He caught the entrepreneurial bug, running his own business as a personal-body transformation coach, training clients using his nutrition certification, and working with manufacturers to produce his supplemental line creating his unique brand. He has been hard at work with his business since November 2020 and is pouring every bit of profit right back into it, striving for excellence, as he believes this will be his nest egg for retirement. Cody has offered his training and nutritional services to his current classmates at WVJC, and several students have already taken him up on this offer. Cody put together a plan with a healthier diet and achievable goals to get each of them into better physical shape and to help them create healthier lifestyles overall.
He plans to enroll in Chamberlain University to further his education and obtain his BSN degree after graduating from the Nursing program at WVJC. When he graduates from WVJC in December 2022, he plans to work alongside his wife in the ER. Cody would also like to continue his education by getting his Master’s Degree and then become a Nurse Practitioner while also working full time.
Cody has tremendous support from his wife, family, and friends as he embarks on this new adventure to learn new skills to make a real difference in patients’ lives. Cody chose WVJC because he heard good things from recent graduates about WVJC’s Nursing program. However, he says the most significant selling point is an accelerated program that offers a degree in just 18 months. WVJC is excited to have students like Cody, who are patient-oriented nurses making sure their needs are met.
Before attending WVJC, Bobby Dick received two associate degrees, one in visual communication and another in professional piloting. Bobby chose to further his education and pursue WVJC’s Nursing program because he felt that it would help him enhance his previously learned life skills and place him in the position to help people in their time of need. Bobby chose WVJC because it was the only school that offered an evening program, which allows him to continue working. He also mentioned that “the fact that the school is one of the top-rated nursing schools in the state, made it an easy decision.”
Bobby’s favorite part of WVJC so far has been “All of it! The staff has been very helpful and awesome from the start. The diversity of my classmates and their ability to share their knowledge while working together as a team has been a great asset,” he said. Bobby mentioned that there had not been a teacher or class that he has not liked. “Everybody has been very knowledgeable and personable, which helps with the intensity of the coursework.” If he had to pick a teacher that has been his favorite, it would have to be Kim Pratt, his online TEAS prep course instructor. “She has been very inspiring, supportive, and helpful,” Bobby says.
After graduation, Bobby hopes to find a career that combines his strengths as well as his goals. He also wants a career that puts him in a position where he can help as many people as he can while at the same time fulfilling his own emotional and financial needs. In five years, Bobby would like to have stability with his career and the satisfaction of knowing that he made a difference. He has plans to continue his education to teach and pass on the knowledge that he has learned to enable others to make a difference effectively.
As the need for highly qualified nurses grows, and nursing educators are struggling to fill clinical adjunct positions with qualified instructors, both healthcare facilities and nursing schools are looking for a creative means to bridge this gap. This is why the WVJC-Bridgeport/United Hospital Center Clinical Partnership was developed.
This partnership began with WVJC’s 2020 cohort of nursing students. United Hospital Center provides a clinical instructor for each nursing class to provide on-site training in various units at United Hospital Center. In return, WVJC provides $20,000 in scholarships to UHC employees enrolled in the Nursing program and selected by hospital administration to receive the scholarship. Through this partnership, not only does WVJC have excellent adjunct instructors, but students are also able to be fully immersed in the culture of UHC. In addition, this allows for a much smoother transition from student nurse to staff nurse if a new graduate chooses to work at UHC.
United Hospital strives to have excellent patient care, and its mission is to “enhance the health status of the citizens of north-central WV.” We are excited to be a part of a facility that provides amazing quality care and treatment to everyone. WVJC is proud to be associated with a healthcare facility with such a great reputation within our community.
In the future, WVJC is hoping to partner with other facilities to enhance student clinical experiences and to better prepare them to enter the workforce.
We had the pleasure of speaking with the Dean of Nursing, Dr. Lisa Onega, and the nursing department at West Virginia Junior College Morgantown to gain insight into what our nursing students can expect from the Nursing program.
West Virginia Junior College Morgantown takes great pride in preparing our nursing students to provide quality care to our local communities.
To ensure they are prepared, Lisa says, “Nursing students use the nursing process to promote the health of individuals, families, and communities. Their studies include foundational arts and science classes as well as nursing classes. Many nursing courses have laboratory and clinical experiences that enable students to apply theoretical knowledge to foster health, healing, and hope. Nursing students also learn to collaborate with other healthcare professionals to advance individual and societal health.” In addition to nursing studies and laboratory and clinical experiences, faculty prepare their nursing students throughout the program to take the NCLEX-RN~ after graduation. Lisa confirms that the NCLEX-RN is a test that measures graduates’ abilities to provide safe nursing care. Upon successful completion of NCLEX-RN, a state grants graduates a license, and they become registered nurses.
Once becoming a registered nurse, graduates can be prepared for a rewarding career and an array of opportunities and paths. Nurses can be found in numerous settings such as hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, and more. Lisa concurs that one of the exceptional things about nursing is the range of career options and that nurses may work with individuals, groups, or populations. Nurses may work in in-patient, outpatient, or community settings. She continues to say, “Regardless of the specialty or setting, everyday nurses improve health and lives of other people, and that is what we want to bring to West Virginia and our surrounding states.”
Lisa frequently answers the questions “how does one become a successful nurse?” and “can I do this?” She tells them that to be a successful nurse; one must first be a successful nursing student. She tells her students, “Nursing is a challenging and demanding discipline. Therefore, you need to put in the effort and be self-disciplined throughout your learning experience. Here at the West Virginia Junior College’s Morgantown campus, you can expect to receive the training and guidance needed to become a successful registered nurse as it is our goal to educate, mentor, and guide each nursing student to achieve his or her potential.”
However, it does take a unique individual to be a nurse. We asked our nursing department what characteristics a student needs to be a successful nursing student and later a successful nurse. They believe that successful students and nurses possess the characteristics of honesty, integrity, accountability, confidentiality, professionalism, time management skills, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and organizational skills. In addition, nursing students have to be flexible and willing to learn as nursing is continually changing and always strives to be up to date on the newest technology. Lisa adds, “And most importantly, nurses have to be self-reflective, empathic, compassionate, and kind. You want to show true care for your patients.”
~Passing the NCLEX-RN exam is required to become a Registered Nurse.
Taylor Hare graduated from Preston High School in 2020. During her time there, Taylor completed a CNA and phlebotomy course that solidified her decision to become a nurse. Taylor knew from a young age that she wanted to make a difference in peoples’ lives. She has also had personal experiences with ill family members that further motivated her to pursue her dream of helping others as a nurse.
It was important for Taylor to attend a school that offered a fast-track program and small classes with one-on-one help. Taylor says, “WVJC has been the most considerate, helpful facility compared to all of my other choices.” Her favorite part of attending WVJC is the availability of assistance. “If I have a question or I am unsure of something, there is always somebody that I can contact. I always receive a helpful response within a short period.” Her favorite class is the Fundamentals of Nursing Lab because she loves to do hands-on activities. Recently, Taylor learned about tracheostomy care, how to suction a tracheostomy, and how to do a physical assessment on a patient. Her teacher is very descriptive and delivers adequate directions that are important when learning in the medical field.
After graduation, Taylor hopes to work as a labor and delivery nurse or work in the emergency department. In 5 years, Taylor would love to be working in a hospital and be caring for patients. She also has the goal of owning her own house near her hometown in Preston County because staying close to family is important. Overall, Taylor is excited to make positive impacts on peoples’ lives as a nurse. If you’re interested in getting some more information about WVJC’s fast-track Nursing program or any other program, request information here!
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Healthcare employment opportunities continue to rise. Nursing, specifically, is expected to see better than average growth over the next decade. “Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur for a number of reasons, including an increased emphasis on preventive care; increasing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and demand for healthcare services from the baby-boom population, as this group leads longer and more active lives.” (BLS 1)
The BLS is a great resource to learn about occupations of all types. When considering a new career or career move, though, there are a ton of other factors to consider. If nursing is on your list, the options are nearly infinite. Nurses work in all walks of healthcare, have degree paths available from associate to doctoral level, can work in virtually anywhere in the world, and are always in high demand. Given all of this, if you are heading down the nursing path, it is helpful to know what your goals are.
While the possibilities of the career are nearly infinite, the training and curriculum are fairly specific. We will focus our time here on the program at WVJC Morgantown. However, it should be noted that all programs in West Virginia are governed by the same body so the requirements to take your NCLEX certification are similar. Nursing programs have a very specific set of requirements to follow and this is part of what makes entry into a nursing program so coveted!
WVJC’s Nursing program has enjoyed quite a bit of student success over the last several years! This success earned our program a #2 ranking in the state of WV in 2019 (by registerednurse.org, which is an independent site designed to be a resource for those looking into the field- link below).
So far we know what the career prospects are like, how the training is set up, and what WVJC is doing. So, what does it take to get into and complete an 18 month Associate Degree program? Grit. At least according to Nursing Program Director, Julie Whetsell. “If you look at the definition of the word Grit, it is described as strength of character, courage, and resolve. Which I can’t help but equate to the definition of a great nurse. A great nurse is a patient advocate, an outstanding communicator, able to hold their own in a trying environment, and extremely knowledgeable in their craft yet not afraid to ask questions. Nurses proverbially get pushed down a lot, and every time a nurse will show that resolve and get back up to keep caring for their patients. It is not a profession to be taken lightly, and neither is nursing school. A nursing student needs that same grit, in fact, I expect it. If they embody those qualities and are willing to buckle down and learn, becoming a nurse through our program is just 18 months away which is an amazing opportunity.”
If you have now determined that you have the “grit” needed to complete a challenging nursing program, you should know that WVJC’s program is a direct admittance program! There is no pre-nursing education coursework at all. If you meet the requirements, and are selected, you will enter directly into the Nursing program. This is one benefit of a short-term program like ours. Another interesting note about WVJC’s Nursing program is the schedule. Classes occur during evening and weekend hours. This gives students the flexibility during the day to study, do homework, work, etc.
At this point, you may be starting to wonder how to get the admissions process started for our program. Request information here!
Rhonda Hardy was born in Elkins, WV, and has remained in WV her entire life. She is married, with a son, daughter, 3 dogs, and a cat. During high school, Rhonda made plans to go to UCLA and become a marine biologist, but fate had other plans for her. She met the love of her life when she was 15 and he had no plans of leaving WV. The summer between her junior and senior year in high school, Rhonda moved in with his family to help take care of his mother who was terminally ill with cancer. That is when she discovered that nursing was her true calling.
Rhonda began her nursing career as an LPN in 2000. During this time, she worked as a float and step-down nurse at Fairmont General Hospital. In 2006, she returned to school at Mountain State University and received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Summa Cum Laude. She continued to work at Fairmont General Hospital and became an Emergency Room nurse.
In the summer of 2019, she left Fairmont General Hospital and became a floor nurse at Grafton City Hospital because she felt like she forgot what it meant to be a compassionate and caring nurse.
In 2019, Pam Wilson asked Rhonda to join the West Virginia Junior College team in Bridgeport. Rhonda excitedly accepted her new position as a practical nursing instructor. She recently accepted the Clinical Coordinator position for both nursing programs at WVJC Bridgeport. Her passion is educating students and feeling like she is making a difference. The students have made her see that making this change was the best decision for her. She loves that WVJC is such a close-knit family and so supportive of their staff and students. She cannot wait to start this new position to see where it may lead.
WVJC Bridgeport is set to complete our second six-week term of WVJC’s Nursing program! It’s been an exciting time for our campus as we’ve added an RN training program that prepares students to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses’ (NCLEX-RN)* exam to WVJC Bridgeport’s list of available course options. WVJC Bridgeport started its first cohort of 40 nursing students on June 29th, 2020. Not only do we love to see people who are passionate about learning to care for those around them, but WVJC’s nursing program also helps fill a void in our community.
Currently, there are approximately 3 million registered nurses in the US with more than 5,000 employment vacancies. The Board of Labor and Statistics estimates more than 500,000 RNs will be needed by 2030 to cover the medical needs of the country and vacancies caused by RNs retiring. In WV alone, more than 2,000 new RNs will be needed by 2025 to meet the state’s health care needs.
WVJC Bridgeport’s Nursing program lasts 18 months, with classes starting each June. Classes are Monday through Friday with scheduling to assist students who are actively working. Those who have completed Practical Nursing programs** have the opportunity to test out of several classes and can potentially achieve their nursing degree in as little as one year. If you have a desire to become a Registered Nurse, request information here!
*Passing the NCLEX – RN exam is required to become a Registered Nurse.
**See catalog for detailed eligibility criteria.
Credits may not be transferable. Individual results may vary. Information on this slide was current at the time of publishing.
Pam has been employed at the Bridgeport campus since 2014 when she began teaching in the Clinical Medical Assistant Program. She then assisted in the development of the Practical Nursing Program that began in 2015. In 2017, Pam assumed the role of Medical Director and has maintained a 100% NCLEX pass rate for the Practical Nursing Program for the 2015-2019 graduating classes. Pam states that during the program she was able to learn many new teaching methodologies that she plans to implement into the Nursing and Practical Nursing Programs at WVJC Bridgeport.
Pam has a passion for teaching students the skills of nursing, but even more importantly the bedside care and compassion needed to be an amazing nurse. Pam has worked with local long term care facilities and hospitals to establish professional relationships that allow her students to experience hands-on educational rotations, so that upon graduation they are well rounded and highly sought after by local employers.
In her free time away from WVJC, Pam is a mother of 5 children and enjoys traveling to Colorado to visit her grandson, Elias. She is a proud military mom, whose son serves in the US Army with the Special Forces Unit. She loves to volunteer and help out local charities as well.
Pam is especially grateful to God, her parents, husband, kids, Jenica Greynolds, and Jenn Leer for all their support, encouragement, and guidance during this long journey!