Montpelier – Over five hundred unionized nurses and health professionals in Vermont called on state leaders Tuesday to address the healthcare staffing crisis by making substantial investments in the healthcare workforce. 
“Nurses and healthcare professionals have stepped up to serve our communities during the pandemic,” reads the petition delivered to state leaders on Tuesday. “Yet despite putting ourselves and our families at great risk, many of us are experiencing burnout due to unsafe staffing in our facilities.”
Deb Snell, an intensive care nurse at UVM Medical Center and president of AFT Vermont , said that Vermont’s leaders must do more to reach their objective of bringing 9,000 new nurses online by 2027 .
“Free tuition and tuition forgiveness for health professionals in exchange for an agreement to work in Vermont would be a huge step forward,” she said. “Tuition support, along with increased investment in nursing and allied professionals’ education programs at our public institutions, would train up a new generation of nurses while providing an economic boost to rural regions of our state.”
Snell also raised a healthcare workers’ tax credit as a simple and popular way to reduce the pressure on the state’s nursing workforce.
“We know our communities will rely more and more on us in the years to come, and we’re up for the challenge,” she said. “But after two years on the front lines of this pandemic, we need policymakers to come through for us and make the investments we need to succeed now and in the future.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
- View the petition at https://forms.gle/jhnDhwQ4XKMY4vfR8
- AFT Vermont is the state’s fastest-growing union, representing over 6,000 healthcare and higher education professionals in Vermont and New Hampshire. www.aftvermont.org
- “Vermont lawmakers say the state’s long-standing nursing workforce shortage is at a crisis point,” VTDigger, 3 January 2022. Link: https://vtdigger.org/2022/01/03/vermont-lawmakers-say-states-long-standing-nursing-workforce-shortage-is-at-a-crisis-point/