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Potomac Valley Hospital, WVU Nursing Keyser Campus join WVU Medicine’s Aspiring Nurses Program

Brooklyn Palmer smiling for a photo

KEYSER, W. Va. — Students in the nursing program at the West Virginia University School of Nursing Keyser Campus, located at WVU Potomac State College , will soon have the opportunity to both secure financial assistance in attaining their degree and find meaningful employment in their field at Potomac Valley Hospital following graduation.

The WVU Medicine Aspiring Nurse Program provides direct financial assistance to nursing students at participating WVU campuses. In return, these students commit to three years working as a nurse at a hospital in the WVU Health System.

Potomac State College and Potomac Valley Hospital worked in tandem to launch the program at the WVU School of Nursing Keyser Campus. One student, Brooklyn Palmer, has been accepted to the inaugural Aspiring Nurse Program cohort at Potomac Valley Hospital, which is open to students currently enrolled in nursing at the Keyser Campus.

“The Aspiring Nurse Program is a direct response to supporting our hospitals in recruiting and retaining nurses,” said Dr. Tara Hulsey, Dean and Jane Martin Endowed Professor at the WVU School of Nursing. “With the demand for nurses, especially in rural areas, we see this partnership with the Aspiring Nurse Program as an excellent opportunity to support both our health system hospitals and our students.”

Hospitals involved in the program interview potential candidates from selected partnered nursing schools in their communities to determine interest and eligibility. Those selected for the Aspiring Nurse Program sign a three-year work agreement at the hospital in exchange for financial support as they earn their degree.

“We are anticipating that this program is going to have a very positive impact on our ability to recruit and retain new nurses,” said Kendra Thayer, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Clinical Services at Potomac Valley Hospital and Garrett Regional Medical Center. “It’s so beneficial to have Potomac State here in Keyser; creating this partnership benefits the hospital, the college, and the students.”

The highly competitive program expects to make a significant impact on hospitals in the WVU Health System.

“The role nurses play in the clinical setting is crucial to providing the best care possible,” said Jessica Huffman, Assistant Vice President of Clinical Services, WVU Medicine Center for Nursing Excellence. “Working to ensure our hospitals have the nurses they need is in the best interest of the patient, the individual hospitals, and the hospital system overall. The Aspiring Nurse Program is an innovative approach to recruitment and retainment that we’re very excited about. It is already making a real difference.”

Due to inclement weather, a ceremonial acknowledgment of the partnership was canceled, but the Keyser Campus celebrated the news with light refreshments for nursing students, faculty and staff.