University offers programs to help combat nursing shortages

Health

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—A national nursing shortage is creating challenges for everyone involved in the healthcare industry. Educators are working on innovative ways to help fill the gaps.

Even before COVID-19, nurses were in high demand. The shortage is now considered critical in some parts of the United States.

“The nursing shortage here in West Virginia continues to increase in some ways. We have a lot of bedside nurses which it is good that they want to continue their education. But we continue to have a shortage of primary care,” said Amy Bruce, Chair of the Nursing Department at the University of Charleston.

The school is looking at creative ways to encourage more people to pursue a career in nursing. They’ve introduced an Associate Degree Hybrid Program that allows non-traditional students to come to school on site Friday through Sunday twice a month and do the rest of their work online.

“We offer it to those who want to go back as a second career or as a first-degree option if they have always wanted to be a nurse and never had the opportunity to be a traditional student,” Bruce said.

They also worked with the West Virginia Legislature to launch the Nursing Career Pathway program this fall. That program will give students a chance to start learning about nursing as early as the 9th grade. Bruce said any high school student interested in that program should contact their guidance counselor.

“I think this will help us get started early and help fill our seats. It will really help that nursing shortage,” Bruce said.

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