WVU Hospitals introduces first cohort of WVU Medicine Aspiring Nurse Program students

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Medicine WVU Hospitals hosted a formal signing ceremony today (Dec. 13) for nursing students from the Laurel Institute, West Virginia Junior College, Fairmont State University, and WVU accepted into the WVU Medicine Aspiring Nurse Program

“As the academic flagship organization and only American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet®-designated hospital in West Virginia, our commitment to nursing education is paramount,” Mary Fanning, D.N.P., R.N., F.R.E., N.E.A.-B.C., interim chief nursing officer at WVU Hospitals, said. “The Aspiring Nurse Program provides an innovative and proactive strategy to support our organizational growth by targeting financial resources for nursing students when they need them most.”  

(Front row, left to right) Jessica Huffman, D.N.P., R.N., C.N.E.P., assistant vice president of clinical services at the WVU Medicine Center for Nursing Excellence; Mary Fanning, D.N.P., R.N., F.R.E., N.E.A.-B.C., interim chief nursing officer at WVU Medicine WVU Hospitals; and Jennifer Strait, M.S.N., R.N., N.P.D.-B.C., O.D.C.P., director of nursing professional development and education at WVU Hospitals, pose for a photo with the inaugural cohort of Aspiring Nurses at WVU Hospitals.

The students selected will complete clinical rotations at WVU Medicine WVU Hospitals to ensure they receive high quality, hands-on clinical immersion experiences to assist them as they transition to professional nursing practice. 

The WVU Medicine Center for Nursing Excellence established the Aspiring Nurse Program to provide day-to-day life expenses for nursing students to support their everyday needs. The students who were accepted to the program receive up to $25,000 over the course of four semesters, including a sign-on bonus upon hire in exchange for a three-year work commitment following graduation. The students will also receive support from academic success coaches and retention specialists. The inaugural cohort at WVU Hospitals includes approximately 40 students.

WVU Medicine has developed new, formalized partnerships with nursing education programs at 14 colleges and universities for the Aspiring Nurse Program to offer access to the program at 19 WVU Medicine hospitals in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Additional partnerships are in the works.

“As the largest employer in West Virginia and serving communities in several other bordering states, we wanted to offer creative, comprehensive, and competitive opportunities to attract and retain the best nurses who will share our commitment for excellence in patient care,” Melanie Heuston, D.N.P., R.N., N.E.A.-B.C., chief nurse executive for the WVU Health System, said. “Our vision is to improve the quality of and access to care by increasing the pipeline of nurses.”

For more information on the WVU Medicine Aspiring Nurse Program, visit WVUMedicine.org/Aspiring-Nurse-Program.