How To Become A Nurse In Vermont

Vermont, even though it is the second least populated state in the Union with a low unemployment rate and only 626,430 people, is looking for more nurses to cure a shortage in its hospitals and nursing homes.

According to the state’s Office of Nursing Workforce, Research and Development at the University of Vermont, there is a 12 percent nursing vacancy rate on hospital staffs and home health settings. The vacancy rate in long-term care facilities is almost 20 percent.

Nationally, the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics estimates a 34 percent increase in registered nurse positions in the next decade. The department’s projections say registered nursing is the top occupation in terms of job growth through 2020. It is expected that the number of employed nurses will grow to 3.45 million in 2020, an increase of 712,000.

Vermont is Seeking Younger Nurses

In Vermont the biggest need is for registered nurses (RNs) as opposed to licensed practical nurses (LPNs) because RNs have a higher level of education and expertise. The average age of a Vermont nurse is 47, so the state is seeking younger nurses. Only seven percent of the nurses in the state are under the age of 30 while over 75 percent are age 40 and over.

Nursing licenses are issued by the Vermont Board of Nursing and approves graduates of approved schools of nursing as eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which is required for licensure of RNs and LPNs.

LPNs can work in a doctor’s office or clinic, long-term care facilities, and hospitals and must be supervised by either an RN or physician.

Blue Ribbon Commission Recommends Increasing RN Degrees

The Vermont Blue Ribbon Commission on Nursing has studied the nursing situation in the state and recommended that the number of state nurses with a baccalaureate degree be increased from 50 percent to 80 percent by 2020. The commission also recommended academic leaders partnering with education accrediting groups and public and private school nursing programs.

While there are not a huge number of nursing programs in Vermont, most students enter a RN program after high school graduation. Despite the option of becoming a LPN in just a year, many undertake more education to become RNs, who make 50 percent more a year on average than LPNs.

Working to stem a growing shortage, the Vermont nursing community has created an innovative plan to increase the number of registered nurses in the state.

Vermont Technical College has instituted a registered nurse re-entry program which helps nurses update their credentials and get back to work. The program allows registered nurses whose licenses have lapsed to re-enter their field through a combination of 240 hours of classroom and clinical experience.

Nursing Schools in Vermont

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Nursing School Locations

Castleton State College
Nursing Department
Castleton, VT 05735
(802)468-1230

Norwich University
Nursing Department
158 Harmon Drive
Northfield, VT 05663
(802) 485-2672

Southern Vermont College (RN-BSN)
Nursing Department
982 Mansion Drive
Bennington, VT 05201
(802) 447-4661

University of Vermont
Nursing Department
Rowell Building
106 Carrigan Drive
Burlington, VT 05405
(802)656-3830

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