The Intelligencer. October 26, 2022.
Editorial: Nursing Shortage A Concern in W.Va.
If you have received care from a nurse in West Virginia lately, you may have noticed it seems as though they have a lot on their plates — yet they still manage to get the job done. Among the reasons for that increased workload is a shortage of nurses, and the problem is expected only to get worse.
According to the report “Nursing in the Time of COVID-19,” nearly 32% of nurses nationwide plan to retire or leave the field — this year.
Here in West Virginia, the outlook is even grimmer. There are more than 34,000 registered nurses in the state, and approximately 38% of them are considering retirement, according to WCHS, which was reporting on “The Future of Nursing,” a fundraising event held in Charleston.
During the event, emcee Derrick Grant said “Nurses sacrifice so much all year long. They are beat up, they are hurt, they subject themselves to serious diseases.”
Nurse practitioner Nancy Atkins added “It is hard work. It is work of the heart, but it can also wear on you, and as fewer nurses are available, the more difficult the patient care becomes because we have more patients and fewer nurses.”
Mountain State officials have tried new programs and incentives to reverse the shortage, and nursing education programs are on the upswing. But the need outpaces any progress being made.
“Nursing is caring for others; it is the thing that fills me up because we are caring for other people, and in doing that, it helps you feel cared for, and helping others is a big piece of what nursing is all about,” Atkins said.
It is not for everyone, but surely there are more who could answer the call. If you are looking for a career path — or even a career change — look into nursing. West Virginia needs you.
Parkersburg News and Sentinel. October 25, 2022.
Editorial: Vote: Shape the future of West Virginia
Nearly all of the attention during this 2022 election season has been focused on which party will control Congress for the next two years. Will Democrats lose the House but keep the Senate? Will the midterms hold true to form and see a power shift in Congress that propels Republicans to majorities in both chambers?
That’s important, but as we have pointed out many times, that should not be the most immediate concern for West Virginia voters. Members of Congress do not pass laws in Charleston. They do not balance county budgets or provide additional funding for local schools. And they most certainly do not hold any sway when it comes to the future of taxing in West Virginia, or oversight for education policy. Those two issues are part of four constitutional amendments Mountain State voters will decide on Nov. 8.
How local residents vote over the next few weeks will have a bearing on all the above-listed matters and more. Early voting begins Wednesday, Oct. 26 in West Virginia and continues, with the exception of Sundays, through Nov. 5. That gives every registered voter ample time to visit the polls.
Along with the four constitutional amendments, there will be state House of Delegates races on the ballot, with a change this year in that each district is a single-member district. Half of the state Senate seats also are up for grabs. Locally, voters will elect county commissioners, clerks and others in each county; and there are municipal elections and ballot issues to decide.
We encourage West Virginians to make use of the early voting system. It ensures that, should some unforeseen circumstance keep you from getting to the polls on Nov. 8, your voice will be heard — and that matters.
The Herald-Dispatch. October 26, 2022.
Editorial: WV education progress requires millions of small changes
Data released this week showed students in West Virginia’s public schools continued to fall behind the rest of the nation during the pandemic. The state’s fourth- and eighth-graders scored near the bottom on a national assessment of reading and math.
But that’s OK. It’s expected. Next week the high school football playoffs start, and we can turn our attention to them. Is this the year Martinsburg is vulnerable in Class AAA?
Seriously, for all the weeping and gnashing of teeth over West Virginia’s scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, it probably will be forgotten soon. West Virginians know their children’s academic performance lags behind the rest of the nation’s. True, we have some outstanding individual achievements, but West Virginia is not known for excellence in its public schools.
Yes, the school closures and attempts at remote instruction set us back, but they set many students back elsewhere, too.
As with many other things, West Virginia’s public school system is the result of millions of individual decisions, from how much parents read to their toddlers to who the governor appoints to the state board of education. Somewhere in that range lies the fact that reading, writing and arithmetic become less important as schools focus on other things, such as sending food home with children on Friday so they will have something to eat on the weekend or calculating how many doses of Narcan they should keep on hand.
The problems in West Virginia’s public education system are the result of many influences: politics, economy, poverty, drug abuse and culture among them. The problems are generational, and the solutions will require long-term thinking and effort. They will require structural changes that will be fought by various constituencies that find the present situation just fine for them.
By coincidence, the NAEP results were released as West Virginia voters decide the fate of Amendment 4, which would give legislators oversight of policies adopted by the West Virginia Board of Education. While the NAEP scores won’t play much of a role in voters’ decision on Amendment 4, they shouldn’t be ignored as voters decide who they trust at the highest levels of state government to look out for children.
Reading and math — the understanding and use of language and numbers — are the foundation for learning. They are the basis for successful living. West Virginia can’t afford to fall farther behind than it is now. If West Virginians don’t commit themselves to change now in the millions of small decisions they make daily and in the larger decisions made at the local and state levels, we shouldn’t expect to see improvement.