St. Mary’s School of Nursing provides decades of education in medical field


For more than 90 years, students have been able to get an education and learn how to pursue a career in medicine as part of the St. Mary’s program. 

“The Pallottine Sisters who founded St. Mary’s (Medical Center) began with a nursing school, with the goal to educate nurses for the hospital they were building,” said Autumn Booton, a registered nurse (RN) for St. Mary’s and alumna of the St. Mary’s program. 

“Now, the Center for Education is affiliated with Marshall, but most of the clinical aspects of the nursing school are completed at St. Mary’s Medical Center,” Booton said. “RN’s mentor nursing students and a lot of students from the Center for Education take jobs at St. Mary’s after they graduate.” 

St. Mary’s offers a Center of Education for those who wish to pursue a career in the medical field. The Center for Education is at a different location than the hospital. The facility provides students with a center for distance learning and offers students the latest in training technologies, such as human patient simulators. 

“Aside from being well-prepared in written work to pass my boards immediately after graduation, I was also very well-prepared clinically,” Booton said. “St. Mary’s nursing students are required to complete a 220-hour precepting program where you work one-on-one every day with a practicing nurse. You get to work as a nurse and see what your job is really going to be like before you start your career. The last semester where I completed those hours gave me confidence in myself to know that I was capable of being successful as a registered nurse.” 

St. Mary’s is not the only hospital in the community. Cabell Huntington Hospital is located at the other end of town. 

“Between Cabell and St. Mary’s, there are two awesome hospitals close to each end of town,” said Alexis Smith, a current nursing student at St. Mary’s Center for Education. “This aids to the people outside of the Huntington area who are brought here in emergency situations.”

St. Mary’s is the second largest medical facility in the tri-state area. Cabell is one of the largest general hospitals in West Virginia. The two hospitals offer different services for the community. 

“We do things a little different than Cabell,” said Isaiah Hill, clerk in the Pain Relief Outpatient Center for St. Mary’s Hospital. “We not only focus on people’s medical needs but also spiritual needs. We have prayers throughout the day and services during the week. There are certain areas where we are better at, like the heart.” 

St. Mary’s is also a faith-based organization. 

“St. Mary’s affects the community in a lot of ways,” Booton said. “It is the largest employer in the cave-like county and provides care for people all over the area, and it is a teaching hospital.” 

St. Mary’s is located at 2900 1st Ave. in Huntington. 

Anna Marsh can be contacted at [email protected]