Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Local Donation Helps Address Nursing Shortage Crisis

by | Jan 19, 2024 | In the News

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (January 19, 2024) – Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) is excited to announce that it has received a gift of $250,000 for its employee Career Advancement Program (CAP). This program tackles recruitment challenges through a new employee educational opportunity.

Community member Chick Allen gifted $250,000 for CAP in memory of his late wife Barbara Norris Allen, who passed away December 2023, to help NVRH employees achieve their professional goals and increase the hospital’s clinical workforce.

“I’ve seen firsthand how the nursing shortage has affected our community hospital,” NVRH licensed nursing assistant Amber Grady said. “It creates longer wait times, it causes staff burnout. But CAP gave me the opportunity to go to school full time and continue working, ultimately setting me and my community up for success.”

Because CAP provides financial assistance for tuition and supplies in addition to maintaining the student’s full-time employment while attending class and clinicals, Grady – who was born at NVRH – was able to start working towards her dream of becoming a registered nurse (RN) at NVRH.

Currently, CAP offers career pathways for employees to become medical assistants (MA), licensed practical nurses (LPN) and registered nurses (RN). There are six students beginning their final semester in the White Mountains Community College Medical Assistant program and one LPN student starting her first semester at River Valley Community College.

“It’s difficult to quantify the value of this program for our employee students and our hospital,” NVRH Workforce Development Coordinator Teresa Farr-Messenger, RN said. “It is exciting to watch the career growth of our students and to also know that they are actively helping NVRH meet the community’s healthcare needs.”

The $250,000 gift is not the first gift from the Allens. Previous gifts have helped NVRH secure state-of-the art equipment, expand programs and support capital needs such as the NVRH West Wing Project, which will expand the Emergency Department, Pharmacy and Lab. In recognition of their West Wing gift, the NVRH Lab will be named The John L. Norris, Jr. Laboratory in honor of Barbara Allen’s father.

“We are very fortunate to have a good healthcare system in NVRH and the CAP program is a great idea,” Chick Allen said. “I was happy for the opportunity to support the CAP program in loving memory of my wife, Barbara Norris Allen, a native Vermonter who always favored advanced education in any field.”

Allen’s CAP gift, the largest to-date for this program, joins more than $110,000 given by community donors to CAP last year.

“I can’t overstate the collective impact that philanthropic support has had on NVRH and our ability to meet the evolving healthcare needs of our community,” NVRH CEO Shawn Tester said. “Donor support at all levels is important, but certainly the immense generosity of donors such as Chick and Barbara Allen has allowed NVRH to invest in the community’s health and wellbeing in transformational ways.”

An inaugural program in 2023, NVRH anticipates more employees will participate in CAP each semester, with a goal of at least 32 students moving through the program during the next three years. For more information about the Career Advancement Program or to explore ways to support this and other initiatives, visit