Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing as a pathway to RN licensure in Vermont are well positioned to meet the current demand for BSN-prepared nurses in the state’s healthcare field. According to the Vermont Action Coalition, only 40% of nurses in Vermont hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, in contrast to their goal of 80% BSN preparation across the state by 2020.
The coalition, alongside the Institute of Medicine, sees this level of preparation as crucial given the country’s aging population and increasingly complex healthcare demands. Such preparation also gives BSN prepared nurses an advantage over ADN graduates when pursuing nursing jobs, as hospitals and clinics look to increase the number of BSN-educated RNs on staff as a way to ensure better patient outcomes and reduce rates of readmission.
While the Vermont State Board of Nursing awards RN licenses to both BSN and ADN graduates, such advantages make a BSN degree program the preferred way to enter the nursing field.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing students in Vermont are also eligible for financial assistance opportunities through such programs as the Jean Andrews Nursing Scholarship, a fund created to encourage Addison County students to enter the nursing profession.
Vermont’s Pre-Licensure BSN Degree Programs
Vermont students looking to enroll in a BSN program can choose from flexible online and blended options, or from traditional campus-based programs located in the following cities:
After selecting a degree program, schools will typically require students to meet the following requirements before enrolling:
- Fill out a general admission application and pay a fee
- Submit one letter of recommendation
- Submit SAT or ACT scores, unless a prior degree program has been completed
- Send transcripts from high school and universities attended, if any
BSN Program Course Outline
After satisfying these prerequisites, students will start by taking lower-level general undergraduate coursework before moving on to upper-level professional nursing coursework and clinical training. Some schools admit students to their BSN program upon admission to the institution, while others require students to complete their general education classes and maintain a minimum GPA in pre-nursing before completing a separate nursing major application so as to move on to upper-level classes and clinical training.
Programs generally require 120 or more credits to graduate, in coursework such as:
- General Chemistry
- General Psychology
- Human Development
- Organic & Biochemistry
- Abnormal Psychology
- Elements of Statistics
Professional Nursing Courses:
- Introduction to Clinical Practicies
- Women and Newborn Nursing
- Adult Health Nursing
- Child & Adolescent Nursing
- Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing
- Chronic & Palliative Care Nursing
- Public Health Nursing
Pre-licensure BSN programs require students gain hands-on experience to supplement their classwork. Some institutions offer flexible online simulation options for working students, however most students will complete these hours through a rotation at a local hospital or clinic. Placement options might include:
- Major medical centers/hospitals
- Community hospitals
- Burn units
- Pediatric clinics
- Home health settings
- Out-patient rehab centers
Entering the Nursing Field in Vermont as a BSN-Educated RN
Prior to practicing in Vermont as an RN, BSN program graduates must apply for a license with the Vermont State Board of Nursing and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. The following are steps students must take to complete the exam and licensing application process:
- Fill out and submit the application along with a 2 in. by 2 in. photo and $90 fee.
- Candidates may practice with a temporary permit if they apply within 30 days of graduation. An RN must supervise them during this time.
- Register with the testing company for the NCLEX-RN exam and pay the $200 fee.
- After receiving an authorization to test, schedule an examination.
- Take the NCLEX-RN exam.
Students who do not pass the exam may submit a retake application and $30 fee to the Board. If they fail a second time, they will need to take an NCLEX-RN review course prior to retaking it again.
Residency and Career Opportunities After Graduation
Graduates of BSN programs in Vermont also have the opportunity to work as a Nurse Resident in some of the state’s medical facilities. These programs aim to equip new graduates for competent practice and many prefer or require candidates who hold Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees.
One such program is offered through Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.
DHMC offers a Nurse Residency Program for new graduates that features a structured orientation and sessions designed to strengthen assessment, critical thinking and technical skills along with growth in teamwork and communication. Residents work with preceptors, perform simulations in the Patient Safety Training Center and complete competency and skills assessments.
In addition to such residency opportunities, Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates are also eligible for more highly skilled nursing positions than their ADN-qualified peers. Among the positions advertised in early 2015 were:
- Nurse Director of Med/Surg. and Special Care Unit at Copley Health Systems in Morrisville
- Community Health Nurse at VNA of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties in Burlington
- Administrative Nurse Coordinator at UVM Medical Center in Burlington