Vermont's Health Care
Workforce Shortage

My son—my youngest child—is applying to college this year. Lately, when he’s not talking about his standings in his fantasy football league, he’s talking about standardized tests and writing his college essay. He’s a great kid. Smart and inquisitive. Warm and empathetic. He would be an awesome nurse. Unfortunately, my efforts to encourage him to pursue a career in health care have entirely failed. And it’s too bad, because Vermont, like the rest of the country, is facing a health care workforce shortage. A 2018 Vermont Talent Pipeline Management study projected we would have more than 3,900 nursing-related job vacancies in Vermont between October 2018 and next spring. By all accounts, that number is low because it’s missing data from many skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies.
I recently participated in a roundtable discussion hosted by Central Vermont Medical Center to discuss the issue with Congressman Peter Welch. Congressman Welch sought to understand ways the federal government could help draw more nurses to our state and to other rural areas, where health care workforce shortages hit the hardest. Participants included a variety of health care leaders, educators and advocates.