Despite efforts, nursing shortage still looms

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(Host) Despite an effort to increase the ranks of nurses in Vermont’s health care system, the head of the University of Vermont’s nursing program says a nursing shortage still looms in the state.

Betty Rambur is the Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences at UVM. Speaking last night on Switchboard, she said the college has tripled the number of students in the undergraduate nursing program and is adding a masters program this fall. But she says the problem of too few nurses persists:

(Rambur) “The nursing shortage keeps me up at night, because I can see what will happen down the line. And one of the biggest challenges is the lack of faculty, so it’s a complex multi-faceted challenge.”

(Host) The average age of nurses in Vermont is 48, and many begin working part-time or retire in their fifties. But as the nursing workforce ages, the aging general population is in need of more nursing care.

Rambur says the workforce shortage extends to other medical and health professions that aren’t as visible to patients, such as medical laboratory sciences, radiation therapy, nuclear medicine and others.

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