SVMC Expands Tuition Forgiveness Benefit for New Graduate Nurses
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: NEWS, 2022

SVMC Expands Tuition Forgiveness Benefit for New Graduate Nurses

BENNINGTON, VT—February 3, 2022—Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), will now pay up to $60,000 in tuition debt when they hire a newly graduated nurse from an accredited nursing program. The new offering joins other tangible benefits—including a $5,000 sign-on and retention bonus, competitive pay and benefits, and ongoing tuition support for further education—to inspire increased applicants.

“I don’t think any hospital is offering the combination of high-value incentives we are,” said Pamela Duchene, PhD, APRN, the chief nursing officer and vice president for Patient Care Services at SVMC. “It’s an indication of our leadership’s extraordinary respect for the profession of nursing and a complete understanding that a well-staffed nursing workforce is absolutely fundamental to organizational success.”

The tuition repayment benefit is an extension of a benefit previously available exclusively to graduates of the Castleton University nursing program. It pays up to $10,000 in tuition debt for each year for 6 years.

A second educational partnership with Colby Sawyer College in New London, NH, allows nurses who join SVMC with an associate’s degree to obtain a bachelor’s with no tuition expense. Additional tuition programs provide funds up to $5,000 per year for nurses and non-nurses.

“New graduate nurses have concerns about managing their student loans,” said Polly Cipperly, SVMC’s director of Human Resources. “Due to the nursing shortage, they also have tremendous bargaining power. We want them to know that they can make a really smart career and financial decision by joining us.”

In addition to the financial incentives, SVMC offers the state’s only nationally accredited transition-to-practice residency. The American Nurses Credentialing Center designates residency programs that provide evidence-based training, support, and mentorship throughout nurses’ first year of employment.

“Our residency has measurably improved new nurses’ confidence and job satisfaction,” Duchene said. “They feel supported from day one and build the professional relationships they need to thrive at work and personally.”

SVMC has earned many prestigious awards. It is one of just three hospitals in New England to have received the American Nurses Credentialing Centers designation as a Magnet® Center for Nursing Excellence five consecutive times. In order to be named, nurses demonstrate standards within five disciplines: transformational leadership, structural empowerment, exemplary professional practice, innovation, and the measurement of outcomes. Nurses work with the support and guidance of their supervisors and in collaboration with other departments to improve care. They document and submit the results of dozens of complex multi-year improvement projects during each redesignation, which occurs every 4 years.

SVMC has also been named to Vermont’s list of Best Places to work for 8 years in a row and is the only hospital to ever have been named.

“I love working at SVMC,” said Jaime Wiley, RN, who works in the SVMC Medical Surgical Department. “Beyond the benefits, I feel truly supported, appreciated, and valued. I enjoy coming to work, because I know that I am empowered to take the best care of patients and myself.”

About SVHC:
Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent, health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, and the SVHC Foundation. SVMC includes 25 primary and specialty care practices.

Southwestern Vermont Health Care is among the most lauded small rural health systems in the nation. It is the recipient of the American Hospital Association’s 2020 Rural Hospital Leadership Award. SVMC ranked fourth nationwide for the value of care it provides by the Lown Institute Hospital Index and has received the highest marks possible from the Leapfrog Group. 

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center provides exceptional care without discriminating on the basis of an individual’s age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Language assistance services, free of charge, are available at 1-800-367-9559.

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