Officials from West Virginia Wesleyan and Shenandoah University have signed a Memorandum of Agreement creating a partnership between the institutions allowing them to collaboratively offer two new programs leading to Master of Science in Nursing degrees. Beginning this fall, prospective students will be able to pursue a master’s degree with a certificate in psychiatric mental-health nurse practitioner or a certificate of endorsement in nurse-midwifery. After two years of full-time study, graduates will be eligible to sit for the certification examinations in their respective field of study. A part-time option is also available for interested students.
This agreement between the two institutions will address not only the needs of students wishing to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner or nurse-midwife, but also will benefit local communities by graduating skilled, competent and caring health care providers to work in these underserved areas. “Historically, West Virginia has suffered a shortage of health care providers, particularly in rural areas,” said Dr. Susan Leight, associate professor of nursing and director of Wesleyan’s MSN program. “This partnership allows us to help nurses gain the knowledge and skills they need to enter advanced practice, while at the same time meeting the health-care needs of their home communities.”
West Virginia Wesleyan currently offers Master of Science in Nursing degrees in Nursing Education and Nursing Administration. Students enrolled in the new advanced practice concentrations will receive a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Wesleyan with a certificate in psychiatric mental-health nursing or a certificate of endorsement in nurse-midwifery from Shenandoah. Students will complete their core classes at Wesleyan during year one and will fulfill their specialty coursework requirements during year two at Shenandoah. All courses will be delivered using distance technologies with limited on-campus classroom time. Clinical rotations for students will be arranged in their home communities during their specialty rotations.
Shenandoah University is in the fifth year of a six year Health Resources and Services Administration grant which helps to make this collaboration possible. The grant is to increase the number of advanced practice nurses which includes psychiatric mental health, midwives and family nurse practitioners. Advanced practice nurses can work in rural areas of West Virginia as primary care providers.
Educators, health care providers and state local officials and dignitaries from both institutions came together on Friday to witness and celebrate the signing. They were joined by potential students and local media.
Wesleyan’s MSN program is a candidate for accreditation through the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc, 3343 Peachtree Rd NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA, 30326, (404) 975-5000. Shenandoah’s Nurse-Midwifery Program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education, and the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program is accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education.