Undoubtedly, nursing is a profession that’s high in demand, because demand is outpacing supply. BLS’s (Bureau of Labor Statistics) Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition states that LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses) and LVNs (Licensed Vocational Nurses) face rosy job prospects. Plus, “Employment of LPNs is projected to grow faster than average,” BLS reports.
Here’s an example of rising demands for nurses. The Florida Center for Nursing in April 2009 projected a rise in RN shortage from 18,000 in 2010 to 52,000 in 2020, if no new actions are taken to resolve this shortage.
This is good news if you're exploring the LPN/LVN program to begin your nursing career, while working towards RN certification. How so?
Fast Track Online LPN/LVN Programs
Instead of waiting for nursing school slots to open up, you can jump start your nursing career by enrolling in one-year LPN/LVN practical nursing programs at: 1) online colleges, 2) community colleges, 3) technical and vocational colleges, or 4) colleges and universities. Upon completing the year’s program, you’re required to pass the NCLEX-PN exam to qualify for a license to start practicing as a nurse.
It’s great, too, that you can enter LPN/LVN programs with either a high school diploma or enroll from your high school’s nursing program. BLS mentions some programs don’t even require a high school diploma. You can easily research the Internet for individual program requirements.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition reported over 1,500 state-approved LPN programs in 2006.
An LPN/LVN study program consists of two parts:
- Classroom study covering basic nursing concepts such as health care, anatomy, physiology, administering medication, nutrition, first aid, obstetrics, pediatrics, medical-surgical nursing and psychiatric nursing
- Supervised clinical practice or patient health care at hospitals and licensed facilities providing nursing care
What do LPN/LVNs do? They provide basic health care services under the supervision of doctors, surgeons and RNs. They assist with taking and recording patients’ vital signs such as blood pressure and pulse, dress wounds, give injections and enemas, provide personal hygiene care and help feed patients if needed.
LPN/LVN Programs Address Nursing Shortage
BLS reports very encouraging signs for LPN/LVN career advancement. For example, at nursing homes you can advance to supervising other LPNs, nursing assistants and nurses aides. Meantime, you can continue your professional training with LPN-to-RN programs.
It’s not only Florida projecting a shortage of RNs. It’s happening everywhere. If you’re from Indiana with one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates, you might like to consider a career switch to nursing. Dr. Renee Kidd-Marshall of Indiana State University’s Department of Baccalaureate Nursing advises becoming more focused in developing your nursing school strategy.
“The nursing professions need focused geriatric/gerontological courses that prepare the future graduate in the care of an aging population. A certification as a program completion would provide an exceptional benefit,” Dr. Kidd-Marshall advises.
As we’d reported in an earlier piece, Nursing Jobs to Increase 23% for RNs, the demand for RNs is moving away from hospitals to nursing care facilities and home health care.
If you enjoy trying new professional opportunities, travel nursing is an exciting way to broaden your life experiences, as well. Incentives such as relocation, housing and travel bonuses are some of the perks, plus a higher pay rate compared to local RNs.
Before you know it, your one-year LPN/LVN course will be opening up exciting new opportunities for nursing career advancements you’ve never even dreamed of. If you’ve taken the LPN route, what insights would you like to share?