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What’s causing Vermont’s dearth of nurses?

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 5:51 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont has long needed more nurses than its colleges can train, and the gap has only widened during the pandemic as burned-out health care workers retire or quit faster than they can be replaced.

Hospitals are filling hundreds of vacant nurse positions with expensive traveling workers, while the state has assembled its own team of temps to prop up long-term care facilities. The supply-and-demand equation is expected to worsen. A third of Vermont’s registered nurses are at least 55 years old, meaning that the next decade will likely bring another wave of retirements. It’s now estimated that Vermont will need to add 1,800 nurses in each of the next five years to keep pace with the demand. That’s about three times as many graduates as Vermont’s four colleges with nursing programs produce annually combined.

Darren Perron spoke with Seven Days’ Colin Flanders, who wrote about the story in this week’s issue.

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