West Virginia

The Innovations Fund

Phases: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

Health Equity Skill Building Multimedia Continuing Education Pilot Project

Project Description:



The Future of Nursing West Virginia (FONWV) will develop a Health Equity Skills Building Multimedia Continuing Education (CE) package for nurses and nursing students. It will focus on the multicultural needs of Appalachian and minority communities in rural and underserved areas of the state and cover systemic racism, implicit bias, equity in care for select populations (starting with LGBTQIA), improving culturally competent care, and building effective cross-cultural communication. The goal is to improve nurse and student nurse skills in building healthier relationships that address disparities, particularly related to stress and trauma.



The Future of Nursing West Virginia (FONWV) sought to expand their Nurse Entrepreneur Course, enrolling 20 more nurses, and opening five additional nurse businesses in the state. Ultimately, they enrolled 17 nurses in the program and nine new businesses opened.

The Nurse Entrepreneur Course provides nurses, who are often innovative and creative by nature, with the business skills and resources to start their own businesses, often filling a need in the community.

Summary of completed project

The development and strengthening of partnerships were successful, with the establishment of the Center of Nurse Entrepreneurship forthcoming.

Some of the new businesses include a breastfeeding and lactation service, a travel nurse company, birthing and midwifery services, a health and wellness company, primary care services, and skin care services. Seventeen nurses completed the course, which was offered via Zoom, and nine new nurse-related businesses opened in the state, with one more scheduled to open.

Building on the success of the initial Nursing Innovations Fund award, new funding partnerships were established to create the Center of Nurse Entrepreneurship. The Nursing Entrepreneurship courses have been recognized as a driver of economic opportunity for West Virginia, which is evidenced by the support of the U.S. Economic Development Administration and Appalachian Regional Commission.

The funding for the Center of Nurse Entrepreneurship will allow for the scaling of the program on a more widespread level. Funding will be used to hire paid staff, expand course offerings, compensate instructors, and market outside of the state. The funding will also be used to sponsor a “Nurses in Business” conference, which will increase networking and program exposure.


Increasing the potential and skills for nurses to establish community businesses is a big growth area that often fills a community need, as evidenced by the outside funding received for the creation of the Center of Nurse Entrepreneurship. The FONWV is filling a gap to provide nurses with the business education and tools to be successful as they venture out on their own.



The West Virginia Action Coalition collaborated with cross-sector partners to promote nurse-led health businesses among student nurses with the goal of improving community access to care and stimulating local economies. The team created a syllabus to integrate entrepreneur concepts into BSN, MSN, and DNP classes and created a manual for distribution and dissemination.

Summary of completed project

The Action Coalition created a syllabus to integrate nurse entrepreneur concepts into BSN community courses and as an elective for MSN and DNP courses. They also created a video highlighting the project and putting a spotlight on a nurse business owner. The Nurse Entrepreneur Course Manual is in a PDF format and downloadable on the course website.


The West Virginia Action Coalition created the nurse entrepreneur syllabus, promotional video, and downloadable course manual.

They also received $100,000 in additional funding from The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to expand the project and create the West Virginia Center for Nurse Entrepreneurship, and the Economic Development Administration approved the Center for $600,000 for staffing.

The project leaders were invited to author the chapter, “Leadership Through Entrepreneurship” (Marino, L., Accad, A., Barr, T.) in an APRN textbook entitled Nursing Leadership through Entrepreneurship.



The West Virginia Action Coalition focused on increasing awareness about nurse entrepreneurship, offering webinars and online training to teach skills. They also developed a curriculum, provided mentors and conducted a complete evaluation of the program. This project was based on the belief that nurses could have a large economic impact in the state and in their communities if they were more knowledgeable about business opportunities.

Summary of completed project

The West Virginia Action Coalition developed a curriculum in partnership with the West Virginia Nurses Association and the Small Business Development Center. The course included two onsite all-day sessions and 10 online webinars. Five nurses in business were engaged to serve as mentors and coaches. A complete evaluation including pre and post sessions was developed. Getting the word out and attracting nurses to participate was the greatest challenge. In addition to articles in the West Virginia Nurse quarterly publication, the Action Coalition advertised in the local newspaper and the Board of Nursing newsletter. Postcards were sent to advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) identified by the Board of Nursing. Participants paid $45 for the course to encourage commitment to attending and completing the course.


There were 35 nurses who took the course; 10 of these nurses have opened new health businesses with others in various stages of business development. Many are continuing with the Small Business Development Center coaches. In addition to primary care practices by APRNs, businesses also include a store front consignment shop with classes for new mothers including breast feeding; a postpartum home visiting service with services for postpartum depression; and an infusion business and a daycare center.

The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation produced a video on the project and awarded the project their “Change Maker Award.” The co-leads of the West Virginia Action Coalition were invited to submit a chapter on nurse entrepreneurship for Advanced Practice Nursing Leadership: A Global Perspective, to be published by Springer. The project is continuing with additional webinars on coding. The overall learning was that nurses need earlier exposure to intrapreneurial and entrepreneurial concepts in their nursing curriculum.