"RN Shortage???" What about LPNs?

  1. It seems to me that everything I read about the "Nursing Shortage", actually means "RN shortage". "How do we retain Rns?" "The survey of RNs showed..." Bla, bla, bla. This is by no means meant as disrespect to RNs; I may be one someday, just frustration with the powers that be. It seems to me, increasing the number of LPNs would take some of the work off of overloaded RNs; and at a higher skill level than them having to supervise CNAs. Obviously there are alot of us on this BB, so LPNs must be needed somewhere. However, where I'm from, we only have 1 LPN program; and one major hospital that still hires LPNs. I just found out last night about NFLPN (National Federation for Licensed Practical Nurses). They obviously aren't doing too much to advance our profession, otherwise I would have heard of them before. Have the rest of you heard of them. Are you aware of anything they are doing? Wisconsin doesn't seem to consider LPNs very important. Is anyone else from Wisconsin?
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   fergus51
    Here, LPNs can only work on general med-surg floors, which is why they aren't as "in demand" as RNs. Unfortunately because of hospital policy, LPNs are not allowed to do many of the higher skills that they know how to do (like assessments, pass meds, etc), so they aren't seen as a solution to the shortage of nurses. I am in Canada, and have to say that the LPNs I worked with in the US were allowed to do many more skills than the hospital I am currently at allows.
  4. by   Bambi
    Hi,
    I lived in Milwaukee for the first 11 yrs of my life. That was more
    than 20 yrs ago. I haven't been back since. I am sure it has
    changed a lot in that time. I am an LPN, still in school. Here in
    Colorado where I live, LPN's do almost everything the RN does.
    Except the initial assessment and IV's. Nonetheless, job opportunties are few in the hospitals and the pay is terrible
    for LPN's in the hospital setting. The aids make almost what
    LPN's makes in pay. That tells you a little of what they think of
    our skills and education.
  5. by   howie122832
    We can work anywhere the hospital puts us! It's up to us as LPN's to know our scope of practice, and stick to it! We , LPN's in Fla. cannot do IV push, or hang any blood products... but pretty much everything else is fair game... Including Meds.....
  6. by   LPN & EMT-CT
    In VA where I work LPN's can work anywhere in the hospital we want or pulled to we just can't spike the blood or blood products bag we can monitor it take it down and all of the rest , even though we know all the transfusion reactions and stuff like that. We have to take an IV class before we can do IV therapy and start IV's and get checked off by a RN or LPN preceptor after we do like 6 or so IV's on our own starting them and all of that stuff. Afte that we are on our own not unless we have any problems, we can flush CVC lines and all that stuff as well. It just depends on where you nurse on what you can do, if you don't think you cna do something don't get some help and know how to do something correctly before you do it.
  7. by   caliotter3
    I am an LVN (CA) and have seen ads in the paper and seen recruiting literature advertising up to $4 more per hr for nrsg assts. I have told my agency recruiter in no uncertain terms that I resent working at the same rate of pay as the top pay that same agency offers a nrsg asst. There must be a reason for this. The only thing I can think of is that we allow employers to do this to us. And also I have seen RN's working for LVN pay. Excuse: (home hlth) It's an LVN level case. Gee, when I started about ten yrs ago I remember seeing lots of cases at my agency where it was RN/LVN with pay accordingly. They also like to throw the welfare reimbursement rate excuse at you. Really? Like I can't figure out that my client is self pay (rich) or on insurance? My first agency paid a variable rate based on their reimbursement source. They did not lie to the nurse and use the same old excuse. Also, where I am, they mostly look for LPN/LVN for only LTC or home health. If you want to work in acute care hosp or clinics, you stand a better chance if you are an RN. That's just the way it is.
  8. by   camkib
    Motivated SN,

    I've always thought when I heard the words, "nursing shortage" that it meant all those who practiced nursing. (including lpn's) When I think back to all of the articles I've read, you're right...they do only mention RN's. I'm neither an Lpn or RN yet, but I think that LPN's are a vital part of the health care team.
  9. by   BBFRN
    My take on this is that many hospitals have hired a large number of LPN's to "offset" the shortage, but there is still a shortage of RN's. For example, on my floor, when I was originally hired (4 years ago), I was one of 3 LPN's- the other nurses were RN's (mostly BSN's). Today, we LPN's outnumber the RN's at least 5:1. The RN shortage shows in that quite frequently on night shift we'll only have 1 RN (who has to be charge), and 3-4 LPN's on schedule for 30 patients. This can get very hairy, as it's a Trauma Med/Surg floor, i.e. lots of blood products given, lots of IVP's, and patients can become very unstable very quickly. We LPN's ARE a vital part of the healthcare team, no question there, but we should not be used as a sole resource for "fixing" the nursing shortage- it's not in the best interest of our patients. Feel free to flame at will.
  10. by   baseline
    Not from me......It is a very good post.
  11. by   Darlene K.
    I live in Florida and I can do IV push meds, it depends on the hospital. There are only a few meds that the covering RN has to push. I can do TPN and IV's.
  12. by   ThirdWorldGirl
    Here in Texas I'm not really sure about the state regulations of what an LVN can't do versus the RN, the only one that everybody here knows is start the blood transfusions, I think all the other things are hospital policies, the hospital I work for now the things that are listed that we can't do is of course the blood transfusions, titrate Dopamine drips, and I'm sure there are more but I either haven't come in contact with those meds or probably won't, since SICU, CCU, and Oncology are staffed only by RN's doing total care.
  13. by   fletchnurse
    I agree with the original post, the articles that I have read & what I have seen on tv mentions the shortage to be RN's only. While in the bridge RN program, two of our instructors referred to RN's being professional nurses, while LPNs are not. I felt that those were bold words, considering they were saying this to a class made up entirely of LPNs. :angryfire
    We were provided with information from Johnson & Johnson (SE wax company) for nurses week. They too recognize RNs as nurses, not LPNs.
    I spoke to the CNO (chief nursing officer) at my hospital, after it was announced that all nurses would be receiving a 2% raise, only for the truth to be found....it was only for the RNs. She told me, well, we have to retain the RNs. I was appauled by her answer, since I was a very hardworking LPN, whom has worked for the same hospital for 6 years.
    I don't think that there is anything that can be done to change the way of thinking unless nurses bond together & educate both the medical community & their local communities.
  14. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from fletchnurse
    I agree with the original post, the articles that I have read & what I have seen on tv mentions the shortage to be RN's only. While in the bridge RN program, two of our instructors referred to RN's being professional nurses, while LPNs are not. I felt that those were bold words, considering they were saying this to a class made up entirely of LPNs. :angryfire
    Most state B.O.N.s refer to RNs as 'professional nurses' and LPNs/LVNs as 'basic nurses'.
    Quote from fletchnurse
    We were provided with information from Johnson & Johnson (SE wax company) for nurses week. They too recognize RNs as nurses, not LPNs.
    I spoke to the CNO (chief nursing officer) at my hospital, after it was announced that all nurses would be receiving a 2% raise, only for the truth to be found....it was only for the RNs. She told me, well, we have to retain the RNs. I was appauled by her answer, since I was a very hardworking LPN, whom has worked for the same hospital for 6 years.
    In the healthcare field, RNs tend to be more valued, desirable, and sought-after than their LPN/LVN counterparts. I think this is due to the fact that RNs are permitted to initiate and perform more independent nursing actions. Also, most states do not consider the LPN/LVN to be an independent practitioner. This is the cold, rough reality in America.
    Quote from fletchnurse
    I don't think that there is anything that can be done to change the way of thinking unless nurses bond together & educate both the medical community & their local communities.
    The situation is quite dismal. All nurses need to come together and be more supportive of each other. After all, united we stand and divided we fall.

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