Future of Nursing

Transforming healthcare through nursing

The Future of Nursing Vermont initiative was made possible by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grants and AARP Foundation support designed to build a Culture of Health through nursing for improved patient and community health outcomes.

One Challenge

Research from the Institute of Medicine shows the attainment of a Bachelor’s degree by practicing RNs improves patient outcomes and community health. How to reach the 3,700 registered nurses in Vermont who do not yet have a Bachelor’s degree and encourage them to advance their education? 

Insight on the RN to BSN Objective

Hospitals and other healthcare employers want to hire RNs with a Bachelor’s degree for better patient health outcomes. However for practicing RNs without a BSN, barriers such as cost and available time discourage a return to school. Meanwhile Vermont colleges have flexible programs to help working nurses return to school but nurses are not aware of these options.



  • Engage major employers, other health professionals, colleges, and the Board of Nursing to promote attainment of a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Create an informational website for lead-generation, with several points of interaction and automated nurturing workflows.
  • Develop Nurse Stories, a series of short, online videos which document the lives of nurses from different specialties and regions of the state who had successfully completed the RN-to-BSN journey.
  • Promote the initiative through direct mail, targeted social media, and employer partners.
direct mail postcards

How We Helped

Through research we identified both the positive outcomes and barriers for Vermont’s RNs to continue their education to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. We created examples of how to overcome the barriers and partnered with employers to create a resource to reach RNs and nurture them through the process of returning to school.


  • Major healthcare employers had an independent online resource that explained their support and benefits for nurses continuing their education — and offered nurses online contact information to follow up.
  • Participating colleges and universities could profile their nursing programs.
  • Results from the initial two-year grant led to a second two-year grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the AARP Foundation, in addition to matching support from the KeyBank Foundation and other partners in the state.

Vermont Nursing lead nurturing website
I have worked with Marketing Partners on a variety of projects to address the nursing shortage. They have been very skilled with figuring out the best approach for different target audiences. One challenging example they helped with was a campaign targeting middle schoolers to promote careers in nursing.
Mary Val Palumbo DNP, APRN GNP-BC
Director Nursing Workforce Research, Planning, and Development, University of Vermont