How To Become A Nurse In West Virginia

While nursing is a popular career field, there tends to be frequent job openings in all levels of nursing care all the time. If you live in West Virginia and would like to go into the nursing field plan on spending one to four years in school, depending on the level of nursing you want to attain. Becoming an LPN takes approximately a year, an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree can take you anywhere from two to four years. Before attending a school to attain your nursing education, you want to be sure that it is an accredited school. If you plan on attending school short-term and just becoming an LPN, you can contact the West Virginia LPN Board to find schools in your area. If you want to gain a higher level of nursing skills and become an RN, with either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, you can contact the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses to find out which schools are accredited. The differences between the levels of nursing are not just the amount of education required; they also determine your scope of practice, or jobs you can perform legally, once you attain your nursing license. The following explains how to become and LPN or RN, and what you can expect on the job once you graduate.

LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)

LPN, or Licensed Practical Nurse, usually requires between 12 and 18 months of secondary education. In order to become and LPN, you must attend and complete successfully, a West Virginia LPN Board approved Practical Nurse training program. LPN programs are offered at most local community colleges, vocational schools or technical schools. Once you complete your training successfully, you can take the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses), and if you pass it successfully you can earn your LPN license. The test covers four areas: Safe Effective Care Environment, Health Promotion and Maintenance, Psychological Integrity and Physiological Integrity. You must complete each section successfully in order to pass the test as a whole.

In most states, LPN’s have the narrowest scope of practice, as they have less education in the nuances of nursing than RN’s do. Each state has its own definition of scope of practice, but West Virginia is very strict on what care an LPN can provide. They can only perform activities that after being evaluated by an RN are expected to contain only one option. An LPN is expected to complete a task only through established steps that should have one outcome. If the task involves any decision-making or alternate steps, then an LPN is deemed not qualified to perform a task. They are not to be given any tasks that require decision-making, requiring any type of in-depth assessment of a patient, or any task that requires professional judgment. This means that if a task cannot be followed from beginning to end with the predetermined outcomes, they are not allowed to complete such a task. They are also prohibited from administering medications or IV therapy without proper and successful training approved by the West Virginia LPN Board.

RN (Registered Nurse) West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses

If becoming an LPN sounds too limited for you, then you can pursue an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in Nursing, (ASN or BSN). This will require approximately two to four years of secondary education, but provides you with a much larger scope of practice than an LPN. To make sure the school you are interested in is accredited, you can contact the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses. Unlike other states, West Virginia has two separate boards to govern LPN’s and RN’s, whereas most states just have one central board of nursing. Once you find a school that you are interested you want to make sure that they are accredited with the state. While you may find an RN program available at a community college, more than likely you will have to find larger institutes of secondary education that offer two and four year degrees. Some hospitals also offer RN training programs as well, so you will want to check in your area for any of them. To attain your license in the state of West Virginia you must take and pass the NCLEX-RN. The test is similar to the one required for LPNs as it has the same four sections, but the questions are on a higher level designed to challenge RNs.

In West Virginia, the scope of practice of an RN is much larger. They are able to perform tasks that require assessment, planning and professional judgment. They also have the ability to delegate functions to people of the same scope of practice as themselves, or tasks that are capable of being done by an LPN per state requirements.

Becoming an RN – Associate’s versus Bachelor’s degrees

Deciding to become an RN with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is a personal decision. If you want to go into a specific field of nursing such as geriatrics or emergency nursing, it is recommended that you attain a bachelor’s degree. If you want to work in general nursing without a specific specialty or you are not sure which specialty you want to go in to, then an associate’s degree can help you get your foot in the door. Most employers also provide some type of tuition assistance, so if you decide after you have your associates that you want to go into a specialty, you can return to school with financial assistance to attain your bachelor’s degree.

No matter what type of degree you choose, from LPN to BSN, you will be required to take a set number of CE (continuing education) classes per year in order to maintain your license. They are usually offered at places of employment or online for those do not have them available at work.

Nursing Schools in West Virginia

While the LPN program is offered at a majority of technical schools, vocational schools and community colleges in West Virginia, the following schools are based on those attending for an ASN or BSN.

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Nursing School Locations

West Virginia University
Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center
School of Nursing
One Medical Center Drive
P.O. Box 9600
Morgantown, WV 26506-9600
Phone: (304) 293-1386

University of Charleston
2300 MacCorkle Ave., SE
Charleston, WV 25304
Phone: 1-800-995-4682

Fairmont State University
1201 Locust Avenue
Fairmont, WV 26554
Phone: 304-367-4892

Bluefield State College
219 Rock Street
Bluefield, WV 24701-2198
Phone: 304-327-4000

Marshall University
1 John Marshall Dr.
Huntington, West Virginia 25755
Phone: (800) 642-3463

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