Top Vermont Nursing Schools, Colleges & Degree Programs
The biggest cause of an emerging nursing shortage in Vermont is due to the retiring workforce over the next 5 to 10 years. Nurse Educators are retiring, and other types of nurses are not far behind. Indeed, there are more nurses who are older than 60, than nurses who are younger than 30. The current average age stands at 49.
It is believed that Vermont will follow the expected national trends projected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is that there will be a growth in demand for nurses of 19% by 2020.
In Vermont, the biggest demand will be in hospitals, followed by home healthcare, physicians’ offices, correctional facilities, nursing care, clinics, schools and the military. The worry for the state is that the so-called “retirement tsunami” will affect each of these areas. The tsunami, after all, does not affect just the nursing workforce. Indeed, the entire population of the state is aging, and this means that they will require more nursing care.
There are just four schools accredited through the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in the state. In 2013, these schools had a total student population of 773, of which just 169 were enrolled in master’s degree options. Only 192 students graduated in 2013, which is not enough to meet future demand. What is more worrisome is that 429 qualified applicants, half as many as those that were accepted, had to be turned away because there is insufficient nurse educator staff.
Vermont has 24 medically underserved areas affecting 55% of the population. Only 3.7% of the nursing workforce holds an advanced practice nursing degree, which is frighteningly low. As in the rest of the country, the population is both growing and aging, which means that the medical needs of the population are becoming increasingly complex. The obesity epidemic is prevalent and, with it, its associated diseases such as diabetes and heart disease are becoming increasingly common.
The average salary for a registered nurse in Vermont stands at $59,000, which is below the national average. However, those with the higher degrees earn significantly more. Unfortunately, Nurse Educators do not earn as much as what they would should they work in clinical settings, which does not make the position overly attractive. The salary, across the board, therefore, is something that the state must address urgently if they want to prevent a significant nursing shortage from occurring.