Online RN to MSN Programs in Vermont
As of 2019, Vermont universities did not offer any 100% online RN to MSN programs. UVM’s CNL program—the sole entry in our school listings—is blended. Some classes are online, some are hybrid, and some are on-campus.
Fortunately, Massachusetts has a number of alternative options, including one from Simmons. Most of them require short visits to campus, but they won’t take up too much of your time. And you’ll be able to consider NP specialties.
Vermont’s Healthcare Landscape
Vermont’s healthcare story is well-known to locals. That’s no surprise—the only state with fewer people is Wyoming. Overall, it’s a relatively healthy place to live:
- Rankings in America’s Health Rankings and the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) are usually strong.
- The state does well in the Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance and it agreed to Medicaid expansion.
- It typically earns excellent grades in the U.S. Rural Health Report Card.
- The Vermont Department of Health monitors public health data in the Public Health Data Explorer and issues its own report cards.
But it’s not Shangri-La. Healthcare analysts are often troubled by the high prevalence of mental distress and excessive drinking. A high median age can mean higher rates of diseases like cancer & Alzheimer’s. Rural counties in the Northeast Kingdom and the south (e.g. Bennington) frequently have the lowest country rankings in health outcomes & health factors. And the four southernmost counties in Vermont were the deadliest for opioid-related fatalities in 2018.
Access is a perpetual problem in this rural state. Inpatient psychiatric beds have been at a premium, which means mental health patients often end up waiting in ERs or being discharged with little support (see the 2019 legislative report). Kids are at particular risk. The state doesn’t have a psychiatric hospital for children, child psychiatrists are few and far between, and beds at the Brattleboro Retreat are almost always full.
Vermont Nursing Challenges & Opportunities
Yet Vermont’s petite size is also its key strength. Healthcare providers can develop projects quickly and monitor their impact with relative ease. For example, newly minted Vermont APRNs could help contribute to:
- Creating more centers like the Vermont Center on Children, Youth and Families (VCCYF) at UVM, which takes a holistic approach to treating kids and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders, along with their families.
- Supporting more mental healthcare training for primary care providers and hospital staff. Nurse educators and nurse leaders may have a big part to play here.
- Developing community-based and outreach programs for drug & alcohol addiction, mental health, and healthy aging (e.g. exercise, social interactions, etc.).
- Working with key stakeholders (e.g. police, state government, local doctors, etc.) to address issues in southern counties along the drug highways (I90 and I93). Burlington has had a great deal of success in reducing opioid overdoses through a coordinated approach, but it has more resources at its disposal.
Jobs for Vermont RN to MSN Graduates
Career Outlook for RN to MSN Graduates
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is an excellent source of job & wage data for Nurse Practitioners and Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary, especially if you’re trying to compare regions in New England. Scroll down to see the maps and hover over an area to view the data points.
Finding a good job in Vermont may require some networking. Experienced RNs will already know that there are very few nurse practitioners in the state and most of them are working in the Burlington area (~44%) or Southern Vermont (e.g. Brattleboro, Middlebury, etc.).
- Hospitals: The VAHHS’s Find a Hospital page contains only a dozen or so hospitals. They don’t always merit a Best Hospitals in Vermont ranking, but Rutland Regional Medical Center and UVM Medical Center are often high performing and Rutland and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center are Magnet Facilities.
- Universities: Only four schools have state-approved nursing programs: UVM in Burlington, Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center, Castleton University in Castleton, and Norwich University in Northfield.
- Rural: The Vermont Office of Rural Health and Primary Care maintains a list of rural health & primary health resources for health professionals. Primary care providers—including CNMs and NPs—are eligible to apply for Vermont Educational Loan Repayment Programs (ELRP) through the Vermont Area Health Education Center (AHEC).
Thinking of running your own practice? Check out the Vermont Board of Nursing’s section on Statutes & Rules and Position Statements. Vermont NPs have full practice authority and are recognized as primary care providers, but:
- APRNs with fewer than 24 months and 2,400 hours of licensed active advanced nursing practice need to have a formal agreement with a collaborating provider.
- An APRN required to practice with a collaborative provider agreement may not engage in solo practice, except with regard to a role and population focus in which the APRN has met the requirements.
Career Resources for Future APRNs
Vermont Nursing Job Boards
- Northeast Multistate Division Career Center: Job listings for New England nurses, including APRNs
- VNPA Career Center: Job listings for Vermont NPs
- ONL Career Center: Job listings for New England nurse executives & nurse leaders
Vermont APRN Salary & Wage Data
- Annual Mean Wages for Vermont Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: Categories can include “Nurse Practitioners,” “Nurse Midwives,” and “Nurse Anesthetists”
- Annual Mean Wages for Vermont Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary
- AANP National Compensation Survey: Available to AANP members
Vermont Nursing Organizations
State Board of Nursing
Vermont Nursing Associations & Coalitions
- American Nurses Association – Vermont (ANA-VT)
- Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (VFNHP)
- Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (VAHHS)
- Vermont Nurse Practitioners Association (VNPA)
Vermont Nursing Specialty Organizations
- American Psychiatric Nurses Association – New England Chapter (APNA New England)
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses – Vermont (AWHONN Vermont)
- Organization of Nurse Leaders (ONL)
- Vermont Association of Nurse Anesthetists (VTANA)
- Vermont Association of Occupational Health Nurses (VTAOHN)
- Vermont Emergency Nurses Association (Vermont ENA)
- Vermont New Hampshire Association of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (VTNHAPAN)
- Vermont State School Nurses’ Association (VSSNA)
Nursing School Overview
UVM is a public research university in Burlington and its College of Nursing and Health Sciences can usually be found in the top 120 of U.S. News & World Report's rankings for Best Nursing Schools. It has excellent NCLEX pass rates and nursing faculty are involved in a number of pertinent research areas. Perhaps most importantly, the college is affiliated with the UVM Health System - a six-hospital system that includes a Level 1 Trauma Center, the Vermont Cancer Center, and UVM Children's Hospital. The Department of Nursing also runs the nurse practitioner-led Appletree Bay Primary Care clinic. Independent reviews of UVM are primarily positive - alumni often comment on the great clinical placements & opportunities, knowledgeable instructors, and guidance. The two sticking points for UVM are the lack of diversity and the price. In-state graduate tuition rates are high for a public school and out-of-state graduate tuition rates tend to be astronomical. UVM Medical Center employees may be eligible for a modest discount on UVM tuition - check with your HR Department.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
UVM's blended program is open to BSN graduates and RNs with an associate degree in nursing and a BS or BA in another field. To apply, you'll need to have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, an RN license and Vermont RN license eligibility, and certain prerequisites (e.g. statistics, nutrition, microbiology, health assessment, etc.). GRE scores are not required, but you're welcome to submit them. The application will also need to include a statement of purpose and 3 letters of recommendation. UVM will evaluate your transcripts to ensure you've met baccalaureate essentials (if not, you may have to take necessary undergraduate courses). After that, you can tackle the MSN. This 39.5 credit program is usually completed on a part-time basis over 3 years (e.g. 1-2 courses per semester). It includes a mixture of online, hybrid, and on-campus courses; 420 hours of clinical practicums; and a final capstone project.