NMC Commentary

Is NMC Investing in the Future and Wellbeing of Our Community?

Yes, we are!  We are investing in our long term future and that of our community with some amazing partnerships.   Last week, we joined with leaders of the City of St. Albans, Vermont Tech, Community College of Vermont (CCV), and Nedde Real Estate to celebrate a partnership that will expand a nursing program into downtown St. Albans. This project is about a shared vision of an even more vibrant community made possible through workforce development, economic vitality, and coaching a village to health.

Nursing students, both our local youth coming out of high school and mid-career adults looking for a change, will now be able to complete their training right here in Franklin County. Did you know that more than 70% of Vermont Tech’s nursing students start their studies with coursework through CCV?  That’s a powerful partnership.  Did you know that Vermont Tech has a long-standing partnership with NMC in which our nurses help teach and nurture the next generation of nurses? Bringing those partnerships together to create greater local access to nursing training is an exciting step forward for our community. Every local and national healthcare provider feels the impact of the nursing shortage. Expanding our pipeline to bring more students of all ages into these good jobs is the right collective strategy locally.

This program will be part of the new building at the intersection of Congress and Main in St. Albans. NMC will also have a new high-tech simulation lab there which will serve students as well as nurses, respiratory therapists, and other clinicians by simulating patient experiences and interventions of many types. This will promote ongoing integrated learning and collaboration in care teams across the NMC system and among community partners. We are also infusing Lifestyle and RiseVT into the new facility, with a demonstration kitchen, health coaching, and flexible space for community programming. Learning and wellbeing are natural complements to one another, and this new space provides for their integration, right in the heart of our downtown! This is a great step forward for the vision of making healthy living and good jobs the norm here in our region.

At the same time, as you have heard from me and perhaps seen in the media, NMC has put in place an operational improvement plan to address the financial losses NMC experienced in Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018. Our plan is to return to break even during this year (Fiscal Year 2019) and be back to an appropriate margin next year. You have trusted NMC to be here for you and your family for years and years and our presence here for you will not waiver. While we adjust our expense structure to match changing revenues within healthcare reform, we must continue our focus on exceptional care and must continue to invest in the future. Long term, investing in wellness will help reduce healthcare costs as the demands for costly interventions will be reduced. Similarly, investing in workforce development now will help reduce our significant recruitment and retention costs. These are wise investments. This project is a great example of the amazing things that can happen when you have a progressive hospital board which is willing to think outside the traditional hospital structure and expand the definition of what healthcare is by extending access to care right into the community.  I am so grateful for their foresight on the value of education and total wellbeing for the future.

We are so fortunate to have such strong partners in the leadership of St. Albans, Vermont Tech, and CCV. St. Albans has come far in recent years and this will be another exciting step forward. This is truly a community with a vision.

— Jill Berry Bowen, RN, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer