West Virginia Junior College (WVJC) and Greenbrier Valley Medical Center (GVMC) held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate their new innovative collaboration targeted at solving the rural healthcare crisis.
The collaboration integrates students in the WVJC Hybrid Online Nursing Program directly into the hospital environment. Individuals enrolled in the accelerated 18-month program will take classes online while attending lab and clinical experiences at the facility during evenings and weekends.
“This collaboration will aid in creating new career opportunities in healthcare for those in our rural communities for years to come while bringing critical healthcare services to the areas of West Virginia that need it the most,” said Chad Callen, CEO at West Virginia Junior College. “This delivery model and the tools we are implementing are essential to creating access to education for non-traditional students who cannot put life on hold to go to school.”
A Mobile Nursing Lab – a 38-foot RV retrofitted with two simulated hospital rooms that utilize high-fidelity simulation technology – will help complement the education offered in the program syllabus and at the hospital, allowing students to practice their skills and get advanced, hands-on experience.
“Our mobile nursing labs will travel around the state to supplement training and provide access to technology not normally available in rural communities,” explained Callen. “This improves the student learning experience, creates a pathway for more nurses in our rural communities, and helps our hospitals address burnout and other workforce issues.”
WVJC’s Hybrid Online Nursing Program was launched in 2021 to serve 19 rural counties and provide a solution to rural education disparities and healthcare worker shortages. Greenbrier County is one of the initial counties served and the college has collaborated with the hospital to share clinical space, educators, and create a talent pipeline for the organization.
“The nursing shortage has affected our rural communities most drastically,” said Tim Bess, Greenbrier Valley Medical Center CEO. “This collaboration will be crucial in helping us by training students right here at the facility where they will eventually be employed, on the equipment they will use and with the people they will work with on a daily basis.”