Nursing at Littleton Hospital: Through the Ages

1971 to the Present

Littleton Regional Hospital continued growing to keep pace with the demands of its service area and to stay competitive with current trends in healthcare. As Littleton Regional Hospital, it greatly expanded its services to provide primary and specialty care throughout the Littleton region. As a result of the increase in services, the Nursing Department has cultivated a team of nurses with credentials in such areas as emergency and critical care nursing, acute care nursing, peri-operative nursing, cardiac diagnostic lab and cardiac rehabilitation nursing, oncology/infusion therapy nursing, and maternal-child nursing, across the continuum of care.

Nurse training

Nursing Education expanded in a big way upon the formal affiliation of the four critical access hospitals and home health and hospice agencies in northern Grafton and Coös Counties in 2016. Littleton Regional Healthcare, Weeks Medical Center, Androscoggin Valley Hospital, Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital, and North Country Home Health/Hospice are now known as North Country Healthcare (NCH). These agencies merged their education and staff development into a system-wide department under the direction of Catherine B. Flores PhD, RN. In her role as director, Dr. Flores is standardizing staff development across all North Country Healthcare member agencies, and oversees a state of the art simulation lab at the Northwoods Center for Continuing Education in Whitefield. The Center for Learning is a hub for continuing education and professional development activities for health care professionals in the North Country, including professionals certified in pre and post-hospital care.

Though the Littleton Hospital School of Nursing closed its program in 1935, Littleton Regional Healthcare continues to play a vital role in the development of clinical nursing skills and professional development as part of the North Country Healthcare affiliation. In rural communities, the role of nursing has expanded over the last decade to include services provided by nurses who are certified in specialties such as Diabetes Education, Wound Care, Oncology, Peripherally Inserted Central-venous Catheters, Sexual Assault Nurse Examinations, and Emergency Cardiac Care. Nurses with graduate degrees provide advanced nursing practice services such as Nurse Hospitalist, Anesthesia Administration and Pain Management, Adult and Pediatric Primary Care, and Advanced Emergency/Critical Care Nursing.

To support the professional growth and development of nurses who strive to fill these roles, the North Country Healthcare system has created an environment that supports ongoing professional growth. Staff nurses are encouraged to become members of the Clinical Skills Development Team which develops and evaluates acute and critical clinical skills on the nursing units. They are prepared and certified to precept senior nursing students from local Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs and to guide new graduate nurses through their transition from student to clinician. North Country Healthcare is a partner with White Mountain Community College, Plymouth State University, the University of New Hampshire, and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences nursing programs. These programs send nursing students to NCH member agencies for their clinical experiences. Advanced Practice nurses in North Country Healthcare supervise and evaluate graduate nursing students in Emergency Care, Women's Health, Pediatrics, Anesthesia, and as Nurse Hospitalists from the Rivier University, University of New Hampshire, Vanderbilt University, the Kentucky Frontier School of Midwifery, Georgetown University, and Chamberlain University.

Nurse training