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WVU Medicine plans new, 2-year nursing school

WVU Medicine is making another investment to secure the future of nursing care for patients in West Virginia and surrounding regions by establishing a new, two-year nursing school directly affiliated with the WVU Health System.

Plans for the WVU Medicine Center for Nursing Education (the Center) received provisional approval from the West Virginia RN Board on March 8.

The 21-month diploma program would serve as an alternative to traditional two-year nursing schools, where students earn associate degrees. Students at the Center can anticipate an innovative approach to nursing studies and training with heavy clinical emphasis and hands-on learning opportunities in simulation and skill labs and, upon completion, will take the same licensing exams as two- and four-year nursing students.

“This really is an opportunity to create an additional touchpoint in West Virginia where people can receive training to become registered nurses and complement the existing two- and four-year training programs,” Melanie Heuston, chief nursing executive for the WVU Health System, said in a press release. “Our students will not only receive outstanding training but will also experience a support structure to ensure they are successful.”

The Center will be located within the WVU Innovation Corp. building and occupy 37,000 square feet. The state-of-the-art facility will be able to accommodate 200 students, faculty and staff and is being specifically designed to address social determinants of many students with on-site amenities such as study rooms, laundry facilities, a food bank and lactation rooms.

Financial burden is often the biggest social determinant facing any student and the program will offer a tuitionless enrollment option with a three-year working commitment to the WVU Health System. The Center will also cover the costs of books and associated learning materials, as well as uniforms.

“We see the WVU Medicine Center for Nursing Education as a significant investment in our hospitals, their patients and the communities they serve,” Albert L. Wright Jr., president and CEO of the West Virginia University Health System, said. “Perhaps most importantly, this is an investment in people — providing them the skills and training necessary to build and establish a very successful career in the nursing profession.”

Tanya Rogers, assistant vice president of nursing education at the WVU Medicine Center for Nursing Education, will lead the continued development of the Center, whose first cohort of 24 students will begin in August 2025. Rogers has been instrumental in the Center’s planning and development.

The West Virginia University Health System is West Virginia’s largest health system and the state’s largest employer with more than 3,000 licensed beds, 4,000 providers, approximately 30,000 employees and more than $5 billion in total operating revenues. The Health System is comprised of 23 hospitals — including J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, a 700-bed academic medical center, and the 150-bed WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia — and five institutes. To learn more, visit