MARIETTA — Washington State Community College has received a grant of $100,000 by the Memorial Health Foundation to enhance the nursing work force through its Education and Advancement to Registered Nurse initiative.
E.A.R.N. is an in-demand job advancement program to meet the immediate needs of local health care providers by helping students progress through Washington State’s practical nursing program and then onto its associate degree nursing program while working in the health care field.
The pathway, launched last fall, was developed in response to the increased demand for skilled health care workers in the Mid-Ohio Valley and nationwide. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports registered nurses make up the fastest growing sector in the health care industry.
E.A.R.N. allows students to spend two days in the classroom and three days working. As they advance in their skills and education, they will earn credentials, including State Tested Nurse Assistant, Licensed Practical Nurse, and culminating with Registered Nurse, that can help move them up the pay scale.
The grant, payable over two years, will add an additional nursing success coach, bringing the total to two. Heather Kincaid, dean of health and sciences, cited the significant demands and the rigor of the programs, however, it would be the responsibility of the success coach to provide guidance and support as students learn to balance life, work, and education.
“These are students who must work to support a family and have many responsibilities outside of the classroom,” Kincaid said. “Our goal is to remove as many barriers as possible to help them succeed.”
Washington State and Memorial Health System have a long-time partnership. As the largest employer in Washington County, Memorial Health System also is among the largest employers of Washington State alumni.
Over the past five years, nearly 300 graduates from the college’s health programs have found employment at Memorial Health System with other alum who support the facility in areas outside the scope of direct patient care, including IT, administrative support and maintenance, among others.
“The ability of Memorial Health System to continue to provide progressive, ‘world-class’ care to our community is directly related to our ability to hire and retain great physicians, nurses and other health care professionals,” Scott Cantley, Memorial Health System president and CEO, said.
Nursing programs at the college are among the best in the state. Earlier this year RegisteredNursing.org ranked the ADN program fifth out of 96 Registered Nurse programs in Ohio. For more information about E.A.R.N. at Washington State, call Amanda Stilgenbauer at 740-885-5718 or at email@example.com or visit https://www.wscc.edu/academics/health/earn/.