CCMC: Nursing stats don’t quite add up

PARKERSBURG – Although the state of West Virginia ranks low nationally in nursing job openings per capita, the Camden Clark Medical Center has been able to keep the facility well staffed with qualified nurses.

With nursing programs across the country holding commencement ceremonies in recent weeks, the personal finance social network WalletHub released a report this week looking at the nursing industry from an employment perspective, said Liana Arnold, communications director for WalletHub.

“We compared the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia in terms of 15 key metrics – ranging from the average nurse’s salary, adjusted for cost of living, to the projected competition within the industry in 2030 – in order to identify 2014’s Best & Worst States for Nurses,” Arnold said.

According to the WalletHub report, registered nurses in West Virginia ranked 43rd nationally in nursing job openings per capita; 31st in monthly median starting salary for nurses, adjusted for cost of living; 39th in average annual salary for nurses, adjusted for cost of living; 44th in projected number of nurses per capita; 33rd in nursing schools rank; 11th in number of health care facilities per capita; and seventh in projected percentage of the population over 65.

Despite the state’s overall rankings, officials at the Camden Clark Medical Center said they have been able to keep their nursing staff numbers up.

“Despite the fact that the article indicates that West Virginia is ranked 43rd in nursing job openings, Camden Clark’s vacancy rate for nurses is less than the national average,” said Director of Marketing and Public Affairs Tim Brunicardi. “That is, we have never experienced a difficulty in recruiting quality professionals here at CCMC.”

Brunicardi admits West Virginia is not at the top of the list in terms of salary, number of available positions or total number of health care facilities when compared to other states.

However, there are compelling reasons why nurses choose to work in the state, he said.

“First of all, there is a quality of life issue,” Brunicardi said. “West Virginia’s low crime rate and slower pace creates an attractive environment for those choosing to live in a quieter, less stressful community. Commutes are shorter here, the cost of living is low and it’s a great place to raise a family.”

Those reasons expand out to other professions as well.

“I think you would find the same kinds of numbers with regard to other professions such as teaching,” Brunicardi said. “West Virginia may not rank at the top of the list nationally, yet you will find a host of top-notch professionals who either decide to remain here to work or come here for the quality of life.”