The Future of LPN Career and Practice

Since at least the 1960’s rumors have swirled around nursing education and practice. LPN career would non existent or be phased out and those currently practicing would become CNAs. RNs had to have their bachelor’s to practice, or even their master’s. RNs with their associate’s would have to work as LPNs. New rumors are added every year. Perpetuated by coworkers, nursing schools, the media and even health care facilities, the rumors do not appear to be leaving us any time soon.

Unfortunately, the rumors are true. Many people would like to see nursing as a whole be recognized by the medical community, and society, as a group of well educated, knowledgeable and professional people, to be respected and paid accordingly. Something the nursing practice longs for and in ways desperately needs. The reality of present day nursing, though, will not allow any of these rumors to come true.

Ten thousand Baby Boomers a day turn 65yo in 2011. The number of aging boomers remains astronomical. An aging population coupled with a world wide nursing shortage equates to demand being greater than supply. In normal business world this would equate to higher prices and higher pay.  It is near impossible to pay nursing staff what they are really worth.

The desperation for trained nursing staff leads to the desire to push nurses through their education faster. Fastest way to a license is by training as an LPN. With the shortage of trained nursing staff, the rumors cannot gain ground. There is little danger that the LPN license will be phased out anytime in the foreseeable future.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics the future is bright for LPNs. According to their website the occupation of LPN will grow 21% from 2008 to 2018, faster than almost any other occupation. You will see new jobs opening up in almost every area of health care, but mainly nursing homes and home health care. Clinics and office will also see a growth in the rate of LPN employment. For those who enjoy working in hospitals, they will remain the largest group of employers of LPNs.

The future of nursing, the future of LPN career looks bright. If you are an LPN, becoming one, or just thinking about becoming one, do not worry about not being able to find a job. There are plenty out there. Remember, not all health care facilities will hire LPNs. Trust me, there are many who do. It might require a little work to find them, but they are there. Also remember that you can be a little choosier of where you work, especially if you are willing to relocate.

While the future of LPN career is currently bright, your own future might not always be. The professionalism and knowledge among LPNs is enormous. While acquiring your LPN license maybe enough to get you a job, it might not hold it. I have worked with LPNs who worked hard, were as knowledgeable as the RNs and continued to keep current in their practice. They are marketable and find jobs easily. Other LPNs do the bare minimum. They don’t care to know any more or do any more. Then they wonder why their raises are small or nonexistent and why they have a hard time finding jobs.

I encourage you, not necessarily to procured advanced degrees, but to continue to make yourself marketable. Through certification, continuing education, knowledge learned on the job and a strong professionalism you will be able to remain current in your nursing practice and find improved satisfaction in your career, and probably make more money as well.

Rumors continue to swirl around nurses. They have, since nursing practice was established. While most of these rumors can seem dire, none have come true yet. With the nursing shortage and the increased demand for trained nursing care, I doubt they will ever come true. LPN career will be one of the fastest growing occupations in the next ten years. Now is a good time to start.

So what job opportunities available for practical nurses

As a nurse, whether LPN or RN, the opportunities for employment are wide ranging. This is one of the reasons why I love being a nurse. If I find myself growing tired of the area I currently work in, I can easily switch to something else. Everything from traditional nursing to research to Parish nursing, the choices are seemingly endless. Not only are the employment opportunities widely varied, so are the locations.

LPN career

Of course, everyone has their favorite niche. Often, once you’ve found the type of employment you enjoy the most, you still with that for most of your career. Don’t hold yourself to finding that perfect fit in your first job. It might take a few years and a few different employment opportunities to discover the area you feel fits you the best.

The largest facilities, hospitals and nursing homes, employ the largest number of nurses. Even in hospitals you will find a wide range of employment opportunities: emergency care, acute care, sub-acute, cardiac, rehab, surgical, operating room, ICU, telemetry, education, management, prompt care, oncology, pediatrics, wound care, communicable diseases, etc. Depending on the size of the hospital, the list can be lengthy and cover the breadth of nursing practice. Working hours in both types of facilities go around the clock.

Next LPNs can find employment in clinics, doctor’s offices, schools and home health. Here hours run during the day, and occasionally into the evening, rarely into night shifts. Many run Monday through Friday, with occasional work on the weekends. The LPN employment opportunities vary widely in these locations as well. Clinics encompass dialysis, out patient surgery, stand alone prompt care, cancer treatment centers and walk-in clinics. Doctor’s offices include family practice, pediatrics, orthopedics, internist, oncologist, endocrinologist, etc. Employment in schools always includes working mostly with children, but you will also care for the staff. As a home health nurse, you will see a wide range of patients from children to the elderly, postnatal mothers to the physically disabled.

Finally, LPNs can find employment in some unusual places. Occupational health nursing involves working at places outside of health care facilities – involving preventative health counseling, emergency care and screening. In Hospice nursing LPNs can be employed either in a hospice facility or in a person’s home. Public health nursing involves care similar to home health but is directed by the government. LPNs can also find work in correctional facilities, adult day care centers, government agencies, rehab facilities, blood banks, insurance companies, psychiatric facilities, group homes, Parish nursing and military nursing (LPNs work as medics).

Not only can employment opportunities in nursing involve a wide variety of types, but can be influenced by location. Depending on where you live, will depend on what kind of nursing is available. Everything from physical location of living in the north or south to rural areas verses cities will affect the types of nursing you will be able to perform. Different disease and conditions are more prevalent in different locations, while rural areas will see different types of emergency care than others. Even things like proximity to colleges, factories, areas like oil drilling will bring different types of cases for you to care for.

One of the best ways to explore the many employment options and locations is through travel nursing. Generally you are required to finish a year of nursing on a general medical floor of a hospital after graduation prior to becoming a travel nurse. Once you get started, the opportunities are endless. Most travel nursing involves working in different hospitals, but you will be able to travel around the country (and sometimes even the world) and into various specialties. A great type of nursing employment to go with if you’d like to try out diverse areas of nursing practice.

One of the best things about nursing involves the wide variety of employment opportunities. From working in a hospital to working with an insurance company, from newborns to the elderly, you should never be bored in your nursing career. While you may find areas you do not like or even loath, nursing practice continues to contain such variety that you will not have any difficulty in finding the right place for you.

Last Modified: 23 Apr 2012