As a non-traditional student, Kelly was looking for a nursing program within the state, and stated, “As a second-career learner, I spoke to many nurses and doctors locally who I knew, and picked their brains. Vermont Tech consistently rose with the highest positive reviews.” Kelly received her Associate in Nursing from Vermont Tech in 2020.
She recalls that the Vermont Tech professors “Are wonderful mentors; supportive, with a plethora of valuable information that can guide and direct students in pursuits that many not have initially been considered.” She explains how Vermont Tech prepared her for her career, noting, “Vermont Tech Nursing Program is a unique experience. Students are in the field (or, “on the floor”) first semester, which is a tremendous advantage from other college experiences.” Vermont Tech offers hands-on learning by offering state-of-the-art clinical simulation laboratory technology in the classroom. Kelly explains, “Being at a technical college, students are learning and progressing with each semester, offering the ability to be employed in healthcare (LNA or LPN) while a student. This conjoining of education and employment creates deeper understanding and growth in the nursing field, establishing the foundation for success upon graduation.”
Kelly is currently employed while continuing her education toward her BSN degree; taking advantage of Vermont Tech’s career ladder progression approach. Nursing progression provides a 1+1+2 model which allows for the completion of the Practical Nursing (PN) certificate, followed by the completion of the Associate of Science in Nursing (ADN), leading to eligibility for RN licensure, and culminating with the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Kelly said, “I remember being nervous to begin employment as a nurse, but I found that VTC developed students in an excellent manner, and I was very well prepared! Employers are confident in hiring VTC grads.”
Working at UVMMC Inpatient Rehab Unit as a Staff II RN, she provides intensive care to patients with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, strokes, neurological disorders, and amputations as well as other medical conditions. The rehab nurse manages pain and medications; bowel and bladder programs; skin integrity; reinforces skills learned during therapies; and is a vital team member in discussing progress, goals, and discharge plans. Kelly states, “Labor & Delivery is the passion that drove me to become a nurse; however, I discovered from my broader life experiences that I enjoy the patient care and educational aspect of nursing. This fits well as a Rehab nurse.”
She advises, “The biggest take-away is to go at your own pace. This was a second career for me and I was able to complete many classes prior to entering VTC as a first-year student, reducing my course load. For other classmates, they lived on campus directly from high school and took on the full load. Do what is right for you.” She recalls how job searching could be stressful and noted that the interview process is not her favorite; however, she suggests, “Utilize Vermont Tech’s Career Services, as it may be advantageous to bolster confidence and assist with polishing interview responses. It may take many interviews or only a few to secure a job, but remember that the first job most likely will not be your last, and your career must begin somewhere!”