BRATTLEBORO >> Vermont Technical College' will celebrate its sesquicentennial, or 150th year, at the Brooks House on Oct. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Founded as the "Randolph Normal School" on a hilltop in Randolph Center in 1866, today it offers degrees in agriculture, business, computers and IT, engineering, transportation technology and nursing, among other areas of study.
Many people walking on Main Street in Brattleboro are often unaware of the hard-working instructors and student nurses just above them, who represent only a part of the over 400 faculty, staff and students who make up the Vermont Technical College's Nursing Program. Brattleboro, along with Springfield is one of five regional campuses with nine different locations across the entire state of Vermont. Vermont Tech offers a one-year licensed practical nursing certificate, a two-year associates degree in nursing plus an online bachelor of science in nursing degree.
Why does Vermont Technical College have nursing students all across the state and how do they receive instruction?
"Most of our students are non-traditional, meaning they are adult learners often with families, children or may be single parents," said Becky Steele, Vermont Tech's Site Director for the Southeast Region. "Adult learners can't live in residence halls as the Randolph Center students do, so we have to find a way to bring their education to them."
Whether it is a nursing student in Bennington, the Northeast Kingdom, or a new cohort of practical nurses working at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and studying at Vermont Tech to become registered nurses, nursing education is brought to students through live lectures, clinical rotations and Telepresence.
"Our own technology, which is called 'media convergence' or interactive TV," said Steele. "What that means, for example, is: an instructor teaches in a classroom in Brattleboro, while students in a classroom in Springfield see her, listen in, follow her charts and diagrams and participate in discussions. They are even able to take exams on their own computers. Students working on their Bachelors of Nursing degree achieve it through a completely online program.
The Vermont Tech nursing program graduates have some of the highest pass rates for their boards in the nation and each year the program graduates approximately 130 future RNs and 150 soon-to-be LPNs. Two students graduated from the 2014 inaugural year of the online BSN program, while 90 students are actively enrolled in that program this year.
For more information about the Southeast Region (Brattleboro/Springfield) Campus of Vermont Tech's Nursing Program, call 802-254-5516. For general info about the nursing program or other Vermont Tech areas of study contact 800-442-8821.