New Year, New Career at the Bridgeport Campus

It goes without saying that the year 2020 has been a roller coaster ride for us all. As we are rapidly approaching a new year, hoping it will be better than 2020, let’s consider a new you.   We all make the cliché “New Year’s resolutions,” like dieting, eating better, and exercising more. These are all important to our overall well-being, but this year maybe a new you, and a new career, is what you are seeking.

This is the time and year to evaluate your lifetime goals and dreams, and really think about your career. Perhaps for some, the pandemic has made you reevaluate your job. Many of you have possibly been putting off taking the next step to continue your education, due to children being your number one priority. However, even though that is understandably something that could hold you back, perhaps in 2021, it’s time to begin thinking about yourself and the career of your choice.

At West Virginia Junior College Bridgeport, we offer a variety of programs that might be what you are looking for. The training programs at WVJC include medical assisting, medical coding, IT, dental, nursing, and practical nursing. Our classes are small and hands-on with an externship that will allow you to be hands-on in the classroom and a real world setting.

The time is now! Use these steps to help guide you to a great career in the new year!

Brainstorm/Evaluate:

Brainstorming is a way to generate new ideas and is the beginning stage in developing the possibilities of what you are looking for. This creates an environment that is uninhibited and non-judgmental to explore all the many options of what you are looking for in your new career.

Get Motivated:

Motivation can be difficult from time to time, but is a key factor in being successful. Staying motivated to work toward your goals and dreams will help your dream and goals become a reality. Take the time to find a group of people you can rely on to help you stay motivated on the tough days.

Start Your Job Search:

Once you have decided to continue your education with WVJC and the program of your choice, start job searching. Researching the field and understanding the job market’s needs and demands will help you finalize your choice. This will help you explore your career choice and understand the places that would work for you and your lifestyle. Understanding the job demands in your town/city will be beneficial to you and your new start.

Toward the end of your program, every WVJC student is offered a Career Prep class that will help you build your resume, cover letter, interview skills, and, most importantly, assist you in landing that career you have always wanted. WVJC’s career management director will sit with you and really get an understanding of what career fits best with you and your lifestyle.

Dreams come true here at WVJC, and this is the year for you. When considering those new year’s resolutions this year, dig a little deeper and find the education and career you have been looking for.

To learn more about WVJC’s career training, request information here!

Rhonda Hardy – Faculty Highlight

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.

To learn more about WVJC’s Practical Nursing and Nursing programs, request information here!

Congrats Pam!

WVJC Bridgeport is proud to congratulate Nursing Director Pam Wilson, MSN on the completion of her Master’s Degree in Nursing Education from Western Governors University.

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!

Practical Nursing Graduation – 2019

Graduation, the day we long for from the day we begin any educational journey. It is a time to celebrate; celebrate your accomplishments not only for yourself,  but with friends and family. The day where reality sets in and you start into another part of your life journey.

The dictionary defines graduation as “the receiving or conferring of an academic degree or diploma.”  Many of us look at graduation as a day of accomplishment and success, which you should.  Some question, “Am I told old to walk at graduation?” The answer is no.  Accomplishments should be celebrated at all ages and at all times in our lives.

In December 2019, West Virginia Junior College celebrated the success of eleven practical nurses as they walked across the stage at Via Veneto’s in Bridgeport. On this special day, we celebrated not only their accomplishments but also looked back upon the journey to get them where they are today. The laughter, hard work, dedication, many sleepless nights, and countless study sessions finally became a reality, that they were overwhelmingly proud of.  Family, friends, and instructors glowed in happiness in the success of not only the completion,  but also the level of professionalism from this group of ladies.

After graduation, they continued to accomplish many more achievements. Every December 2019 practical nursing graduate passed their NCLEX exam, which officially gave them the title of “Licensed Practical Nurse.”  Not only were they proud of themselves but also of each other. Together as a team, they continue to grow and prosper.  Each graduate also quickly obtained employment after graduation and are happy to be in the healthcare field, a dream they all had since they were little. “Every nurse is drawn to nursing because of a desire to care, to serve, or to help.”  – Christina Feist-Heilmeier, RN.

At WVJC Bridgeport, you become a part of a small family. The small classes and the one on one attention you receive, are like no other.  We offer many different programs within our WVJC family and we always celebrate everyone’s accomplishments during graduation.

To learn more about WVJC’s Practical Nursing program, request information here!

Brandee Clevenger – Student Highlight

Brandee chose West Virginia Junior College’s Practical Nursing program because she wanted a school that was smaller to receive one on one attention and excellent outcomes. After doing some research, she found that the WVJC Bridgeport campus has maintained a 100% NCLEX pass rate, since starting the Practical Nursing program in 2015. After her interview, she knew she was interested and in the right place to achieve her goals.

She began her courses shortly after being accepted into the program. Her excitement was overwhelming, and she couldn’t wait to reach her goal. She said she likes WVJC because of the smaller classes because it allows for more one on one instruction with the nursing instructors. She wants to become a nurse because every day is different and a challenge. As a nurse, she will also learn something continually.

Brandee’s hobbies include riding horses, gardening, and spending time with her family. When she graduates this December, she plans on working in the cardiac unit or pediatrics. Brandee explained the heart has always fascinated her, and pediatrics will always hold a special place in her heart because children are the sweetest. Her five-year plan is to complete nursing school and get a position in a hospital. She plans to continue her education with the WVJC Nursing program as part of her five-year plan. She said, “In summary, my plan is to become an RN and be a successful nurse.”

Taylor Daft – Graduate Highlight

In December of 2018 Taylor was preparing herself for her upcoming enrollment into the WVJC Bridgeport PN program. Before this, she was the traditional college student that went to a university right out of high school without any real plan. When that did not work out, she was left discouraged and worried about what to do next. Then she started hearing about WVJC, did some research, and set her plan in motion. The draw for her was a smaller school and better student to teacher ratio. Little did she know, WVJC would surpass her expectations.

Orientation last December was an eye opener, but in a good way. The instructors were genuinely excited while they were greeting each and every student. It had been a long time since Taylor had encountered someone that was actually excited to teach and wanted students to really learn. The instructors’ excitement was contagious, and she was now more than ready to begin the year – even with the mountain of books, syllabi, online reading material, and homework assignments she had been given.

    WVJC continued to surprise Taylor and kept her wanting to learn. They jumped right into classes the first day, and hit the ground running, learning the things they needed to know to function in the future as great nurses. The teaching strategies her instructors used kept her focused. They had lectures where students were encouraged to interact, videos, visuals, and even hands on opportunities in the lab. With all of these things, she could just tell that the instructors had done their research, figured out what worked and did not work for students, and put it into action. Add and check another couple of things off her expectations list.

Everyone knows that nursing programs are difficult. She means they are hard! Not every day has been a walk in the park, but Taylor said it has been more than worth it. There were days that she was not sure how she was going to make it, and she really felt like giving up. That is when the instructors really showed their true colors and helped set WVJC apart from the rest. When she – or anyone else – had their off days, the instructors were right there pushing them. That is a HUGE thing to add to her expectations list and cross it off over and over again. The instructors genuinely care, and that means more to her than anyone will ever know.

Those hard days had really helped shape Taylor. She had no experience in healthcare whatsoever. She was the type to avoid hospitals and doctor’s offices like the plague. Now she’s putting on her scrubs, grabbing her stethoscope and blood pressure cuff, and all but running into the hospital or nursing home for her clinical and externship hours. She feels so much more focused and driven not only to succeed in school, but to be the best nurse she can be. This program has helped her realize she can set her goals and know she is also capable of getting there.

Her externship is something she’s extremely thankful she got to do in the last term. Students have the opportunity to get forty two hours by themselves in a nursing home, clinic, home health, etc. under the supervision of a nurse. She chose to do her hours in a nursing home because, throughout the whole year, she felt like she did not want to go to work in one. Taylor could not have been more wrong about that. She started going in every Monday for seven hours, but now she’s going on both Monday and Friday because she enjoys being there. In the hospital, you can give good care to your patients, but you aren’t able to really get to know them and see them day in and day out. At the nursing home, you are with the same patients each shift, and can really build a good professional relationship with them. It is hard when one of them starts to decline because you somewhat get attached to them. However, she leaves there feeling like she’s really made a difference and helped someone. She has had patients call her a sweetheart, thank her for helping them for just covering them with a blanket, and hold her hand when they are in pain. It has really changed her and opened her eyes to what she want to do. She thinks she was just intimidated from not ever working around that population before.

It has been a completely different experience not having the teachers there as a safety net. She knows the nurse she shadows with would never let her fail, but it is still a different experience not having classmates or the teacher there. It has helped her become more independent and confident in her skills. Taylor has gone from a very scared, intimidated student to being one that wants to jump in and experience anything new that she hasn’t seen. She has her teachers and classmates to thank for that. The teachers are always seeking new experiences for students, and classmates always want to share their experiences with one another. Taylor is grateful for her externship for showing her what she wanted to do after graduation and the type of nurse she want to be. This whole year has been full of growth and learning that has changed her for the better. It has been difficult, but she wouldn’t change a thing about it.  Taylor passed her NCLEX-PN on her first attempt and is working where her heart led her…at a local nursing home.

For more information on WVJC Bridgeport’s PN program, click here!

We’re Here for You Through COVID-19

Our lives have dramatically changed in the last few weeks as we all adjust to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. From our movements being restricted, to learning to homeschool our children, to the heroes on the front lines battling this virus, we have all been affected.

At West Virginia Junior College, we want our students, our community, and our future students to know one thing: we are here for you and we will support you in every way possible. We’re all in this fight together, and we will get through it together.

Supporting WVJC Students

At WVJC, we are not just a college, we are a family. Throughout this difficult time, we continue to remain fully committed to our purpose of empowering change by creating opportunity.

We are committed to serving and supporting our WVJC student family through the COVID-19 pandemic. To enable our students to continue training for rewarding careers, our ground campuses are providing live remote classes for all students. Via these live remote classes, students can continue to gain valuable knowledge and develop professional skills, setting them up for successful careers.

Students may travel to campus to receive distance learning materials and other essential services, as educational institutions are considered essential businesses in West Virginia. We’re taking every precaution necessary to ensure our facilities are sanitized and are operating under social distancing requirements. All instructors are also available to remotely assist students with anything they need for those who cannot or prefer not to travel to campus.

To further support our students during this time, WVJC has created an Interim Leave of Absence Policy for active students in good academic standing, who are unable to complete or begin an externship due to COVID-19. We have also revised the current incomplete policy for students who cannot sit for their certification exams during this time. For more information and guidance on these policies, please visit the COVID-19 Information page.

Supporting the Community

In addition to continuing to supporting our students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we are highly invested in our community and dedicated to serving it by providing the local workforce with trained and qualified medical professionals.

With healthcare programs including Nursing, Practical Nursing, Clinical Medical Assistant, Medical Office Administration, Dental Assisting, Medical CodingHealthcare Administration, and Pharmacy Technician, WVJC graduates are on the front lines fighting the virus, caring for sick patients, and providing critical support to hospitals and doctor’s offices.

We pledge to continue supporting members of the community and local healthcare teams by educating and training essential healthcare workers who are critical to saving lives during the pandemic.

Supporting Future Students

Due to COVID-19 and the mandatory restrictions on non-essential businesses, many people and families have been negatively impacted. There have been many people who have lost their jobs or been laid off, with millions all over the country who have applied for unemployment benefits.

With our purpose of empowering change by creating opportunity, we believe that WVJC has a responsibility to help people by providing them the opportunity to get retrained and back to work. With this in mind, we are now offering virtual campus visits for all potential students. Additionally, we are waiving all enrollment fees for applicants starting college in May or June of 2020. It’s our hope that this will help people who have been affected by providing them the opportunity to start their path to a more secure career.

We also understand that it’s hard for high school students who are dealing with this time of uncertainty while trying to make decisions about what to do after graduation. We encourage all high school seniors to explore our career training college degree programs that may lead to successful, rewarding careers.

To learn more about our healthcare and professional college degree programs, contact us today to schedule a remote admissions meeting.

Samantha Lucky – Student Highlight

Samantha Lucky is a recent graduate from the West Virginia Junior College’s Practical Nursing program.  Becoming a nurse was always a dream of hers since she was little.  However, in order to make her dream come true, she had to find a school that was the right fit for her.

She began her research knowing she wanted a smaller school so she could gain one on one attention.  Samantha feels that in larger schools “you are just a number and not a student.”  During her research she discovered that, in 2018, WVJC had a 100% pass rate for the NCLEX exam. Samantha said to herself, “ I need to give them a call.”  After the process of enrollment and a tour of the facility, she felt at home and was ready to begin her journey.

Samantha wants to share a part of her nursing journey with you!

Samantha writes, “In my fourth semester at WVJC I got the opportunity to complete 42 hours of an externship alongside a Hospice Nurse.  I knew that this particular field would be extremely difficult, especially separating home and work life.  However, I knew if I wanted to be the best nurse I can be, I needed to face my weaknesses and grow from the experiences. My first day was rough, I helped the nurse with a “death call.” This changed my perspective on life from that day forward. Every day, for a couple of weeks, I struggled to go there to complete my hours. However, after some time and seeing the compassion that goes into the field, I began to adapt to the struggles and fell in love with the hospice side of nursing. This brought so much compassion and understanding to a different part of my life. In school I learned the importance of patient advocacy, and I am proud to say, I got to experience and assist in this every day, while working in the hospice side of nursing.  During this time, I personally got the joy of hearing so many nurses say to their patients, ‘I am just a phone call away.’  Seeing this compassion everyday was a constant reminder of why I made the choice to become a nurse.”

Not only has Samantha graduated from the WVJC Practical Nursing program and passed her NCLEX exam, she also proudly accepted a position at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Samantha looks forward to this journey and all the new experiences that come with it. There is no doubt in her mind that she picked the right school and career path.

Cheyenne Bolden – Student Highlight

Cheyenne is a 2017 graduate of Liberty High School. While in high school, Cheyenne participated in numerous sports, worked two jobs to fund her summer travels, was a member of the National Honor Society, and enjoyed attending the Friday night football games. She took college classes during her senior year in high school as well.

WVJC was Cheyenne’s choice to jump start her career because she loves the small class sizes and being able to know the teachers one on one. She also loves that the teachers offer free tutoring after class and even in the mornings before class. Currently enrolled in the LPN program, Cheyenne is 21 years old and loves to spend her summers traveling across the globe.

There are many things that Cheyenne loves about her student experience at WVJC. “The library is always open and available when I need to use it. I enjoy being able to ask questions and get answers in a quick time frame. I feel like a person here and not just a number,” said Cheyenne.

When asked who her favorite teacher is so far, Cheyenne said it has been Mrs. Wilson because she has the ability to reach out to students and relay the information in a manner everyone can understand. She is really good at re-explaining something if someone doesn’t understand and uses relatable examples.

“From the time I started my journey here, the teachers and staff have always gone out of their way to make things as easy and smooth as possible. Nursing school is hard enough, it’s nice to have teachers and staff in your corner when things get tough,” said Cheyenne.

Currently, Cheyenne is in the mental health clinical rotation and part of her class has been going to Highland and observing. “I really enjoy mental health nursing, but I imagine it’s very hard at the same time,” said Cheyenne.

Cheyenne is working on finishing up her externship hours at Fairmont Health and Rehab. “I truly love it there. I am hoping to work there with a graduate license until I take and pass my boards. Once that happens, I really hope to secure a PRN job there while planning some much-needed travel plans,” said Cheyenne.

In the future, Cheyenne plans to go back to school and obtain her RN degree. She hopes to become a travel nurse for a few years after getting her RN and once she settles down, she is considering becoming a flight nurse.

Cheyenne’s advice for others is to “not give up, even when you think it’s the only option. In the end, you’re only setting yourself back and keeping yourself from reaching the goals you set out to achieve.”

Are you ready to start down the path to a rewarding career? With short-term programs, small class sizes, personalized attention, and our WE CARE approach to education, WVJC can help you get there. Request information today to get started!

Steps to Apply for Admission to the Practical Nursing Program

There is no doubt about it. Nurses are heroes! They help people through their most trying times. If you choose to become a practical nurse, you will be entering an honorable profession with a long history of serving your fellow human beings. Working in the field of healthcare is something you can be proud of throughout your entire career.

An LPN works under the supervision of doctors and RNs, performing duties such as taking vital signs, collecting samples, administering medications, ensuring patient comfort, and reporting the status of their patients to the other nurses.

Many different types of healthcare facilities hire practical nurses. In this field, you might get the opportunity to work in home care, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, hospice care, rehab clinics, group homes, outpatient centers, medical offices, or hospitals. Your training is portable throughout your entire state and there are many different types of facilities to choose from.

Considerations into the West Virginia Junior College Practical Nursing program are based upon the following:

  • Student must score an overall proficient score on the HESI A2 entrance exam or meet the cut score results of:
  • English Language Composite Score: 70%
  • Math: 65%

* Cumulative Scores will be reviewed by the program director and will be considered on an individual basis.

  • Interview with the Practical Nursing Program Director and Clinical Coordinator/Instructor.
  • Essay (one page double spaced) on why you have chosen to be a practical nurse and why you chose WVJC. (Please sign and date your essay.)
  • 2 References (educational, spiritual, or current/former employer). Please submit on business letterhead and include name, phone number, or email address.
  • Comparative High School GPA or GED

These items will be evaluated and scored. The WVJC Practical Nursing Director and Clinical Coordinator will then analyze each applicant and reserve the right to make the final decision in regard to acceptance into the program. The following items must be completed prior to the first day of class. You will need to satisfactorily complete all of the following Nursing Program Requirements. These requirements are as follows:

  • Physical Exam – All areas of the “History & Physical Exam Form” must be completed and signed by your healthcare provider with a recommendation for admission.
  • Immunizations/Titers & 2-Step PPD Testing – All areas of the “Immunization Record” and the “Tuberculosis Screening Form” must be completed by your healthcare provider. All appropriate documentation must be submitted with this form.
  • State and Federal Criminal Background Checks – Complete both state and federal criminal background checks with an acceptable status.
  • Drug Screening – Results of drug screening must be “negative” for non-prescription and/or illegal drugs. Verification via current valid prescription for any medications you may be taking that result in a positive/false positive will be required.
  • Proof of Current CPR Training – Complete the American Heart Association Basic Life Support for Health Care Provider course and submit a copy of your certification to the WVJC Practical Nursing Director.
  • Uniforms – Fitted for appropriate uniforms and ID Badge obtained.
  • Child Abuse Clearance – Complete the Child Abuse Clearance form.

If you are interested in joining the ranks of Practical Nursing heroes in West Virginia, request information here today!