VBR Research & Education Foundation’s New Report Assesses and Forecasts Critical Nursing Needs [3.11.24]

South Burlington, VT — The Vermont Business Roundtable’s Research and Education Foundation unveils an innovative report highlighting the pressing demand for skilled nursing professionals in the state within the next two years.

According to the Vermont Department of Labor, the healthcare industry accounts for nearly 12% of Vermont’s workforce, employing more than 37,000 people as of the third quarter 2023. However, the sector has seen a decline of 1700 jobs, or approximately 4.5% compared to the same period in 2019. Nowhere is the shortage more acute than in residential care, where employment numbers have dropped by 11% since 2019. In comparison, both ambulatory (out-patient) and hospital employment numbers have decreased by 3% for the same period.

The VBR Foundation’s Vermont Nursing Needs Assessment 2024-2026 report underscores the importance of investing in education for high-demand careers in the nursing profession. It also highlights the significant workforce challenges faced by healthcare providers including rising patient volume, more severe illness, an aging population, and a shortage of custodial care. These challenges are compounded by staff burnout, difficulty hiring and retaining skilled nurses from out-of-state, and a reduced supply of available workers.

In response to these challenges, the VBR Foundation initiated a collaborative effort with 84 Vermont healthcare providers in December 2023 to address the shortage of six critical roles within the nursing career ladder. Lori Prefota, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer at Springfield Hospital says of the collaboration, “We need to work together, to ensure Vermonters have access to the quality care they deserve.” Using the Vermont Talent Pipeline Management model, developed by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, healthcare providers are actively involved in forecasting hiring demand and education requirements for nursing roles, acting as “end customers” of the talent supply. Key findings of the report include:
*  50 Vermont healthcare employers participated, representing a 60% response rate

* The forecast necessitates 5394 nursing positions within the next two years, with hospitals accounting for 79% of the total and 88% of the demand specifically for Registered Nurses (RNs).

* Approximately 45% of the total forecast is for RNs, which translates to about 1200 needed per year.

* Central Vermont shows the highest concentration of demand among regions.

The VBR Foundation’s report calls to action Vermont’s stakeholders to collaborate and invest in building a robust talent supply for Vermont’s healthcare industry. To learn more about the nursing demand, creative solutions to increase the supply, or how to participate, please read the Nursing Needs Assessment 2024-2026 Summary.

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The VBR Research and Education Foundation is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, created by the Vermont Business Roundtable to promote educational opportunities for Vermonters to succeed in local and global economy.
Vermont Business Roundtable is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of CEOs from Vermont’s private and nonprofit employers, representing geographic diversity and all major sectors of the Vermont economy. The Roundtable is committed to sustaining a sound economy and preserving Vermont’s unique quality of life by studying and making recommendations on statewide public policy issues.