Seeking Highest Quality and Best Value in Continuing Education, West Virginia Hospitals Enroll 1,600 Nurses in Athena Forum

Widespread education ensures quality care from beginning to end for patients in WVU’s facilities

Rockville, MD, July 14, 2012 --( West Virginia University Healthcare is taking full advantage of one of the best values in continuing education for case managers, nurses, and social workers. Since February, the health care system in Morgantown enrolled 60 case managers and 1,600 nurses and social workers in Athena Forum’s educational courses. WVU Healthcare is the first organization to take full advantage of Athena Forum’s innovative pricing.

Under an educational site license, Athena Forum allows facilities to have unlimited enrollment while paying a flat fee of less than $2,000 per hospital per year.

In an effort to ensure that all WVU Healthcare patients receive the best care, Christy Whetsell, director of Care Management at WVU Healthcare uses Athena Forum to empower all case managers, nurses, and social workers in the state’s largest health care system.

“Everyone on the case management team is on a professional development plan, and they’re planning to take all of Athena Forum’s care management modules this year,” said Whetsell. “In addition to offering Athena Forum’s courses to case managers, it just made sense to me to offer the courses to all 1,600 nurses as well because the course offerings are so strong and the price is right. We’re educating 1,600 nurses for about $1.25 per person, per year.”

The WVU hospitals comprise a 531-bed tertiary care center that serves as the primary teaching facility for West Virginia University’s health professions schools and is a member of the West Virginia United Health System.

In February, Whetsell enrolled her team of approximately 60 care managers and social workers in Athena Forum, giving the case managers access to all 4,000 pages of clinical content on the company’s Web site. Just weeks later, she offered these courses to all floor nurses (1,600 staffers in all) within the WVU hospitals.

“The mission of WVU Healthcare is to improve the health of West Virginians and all we serve, through excellence in patient care, research, and education,” Whetsell said. “We want to make sure no West Virginian has to leave the state to get care because we should be able to take care of them here at home. These courses through Athena Forum help us to meet that mission.”

By providing theses courses to any and all interested case managers, nurses, and social workers, Whetsell ensured that these providers could begin working toward the goal of providing seamless care delivery from the moment a patient arrives at the door.

“We saw immediate value in the Athena Forum offerings,” she commented. “That’s why we’re adding these courses to our orientation program so that everyone who joins our staff starts off with the same knowledge about clinical care.”

The WVU Hospitals have been using the Athena Forum courses for only a few months but the coursework already has served as a valued tool, Whetsell commented.

“I got an email just last week from a floor nurse,” she comments. “The nurse said, ‘I found the course informative, well written, concise, and an excellent snapshot of the issues we face. The tests are challenging but fair, and the added bonus is I’m earning CEUs.’ By having access to the coursework online, she really appreciates the opportunity to study at anytime that fits her schedule.”

The Athena Forum curriculum is designed to improve case management by offering up-to-date, comprehensive online courses. In addition to supplemental instruction, nurses can earn continuing education certificates as well. One of the advantages of having the coursework available online is that staff can participate anywhere and at any time.

In the coming months, Whetsell hopes to evaluate the effects the Athena Forum courses have had on staff.

About Athena Forum® is a 4,000-page online course curriculum awarding 400 continuing education units for nurses, social workers, and case managers (ACM and CCM). All coursework is designed to improve the performance of case management teams, and all courses are managed by nationally recognized experts.

About West Virginia University Hospitals
West Virginia University Hospitals have been nationally recognized for delivering excellent care. WVUH is a Level One Trauma Center and also has Magnet Recognition for Nursing. The hospitals are widely considered a leading employer of choice because of their employee-friendly environment and approach. The WVU Hospitals include Ruby Memorial Hospital, WVU Children’s Hospital, Jon Michael Moore Trauma Center, and Chestnut Ridge Hospital in Morgantown, and WVUH-East.

Contact: Tom Rasmussen
Athena Forum
Joe Kowal
Tom Rasmussen