College hopes to fill community need for licensed practical nurses

Licensed practical nurses (LPN) perform an essential role in direct patient care in a variety of health care settings. The misunderstanding that LPN jobs are dwindling is widespread. In fact, LPNs are increasingly in demand in health care settings such as skilled nursing facilities, outpatient clinics, home health care and schools. 

“There is an enormous demand for LPNs,” said Christina Wilson, Anoka Tech Practical Nursing program director and faculty member. “And because the program can be completed in less than a year, becoming an LPN is a fast track to entering a lucrative and in-demand career field.”

Wilson’s assertion is supported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) which states that employment for LPNs is expected to grow by 16 percent through 2024, which is much faster than average growth for other professions.

“We work with LPNs as health paras in our offices.” said Cynthia Hiltz, RN, LSN, MS, NCSN, NASN, health service coordinator with Anoka Hennepin Independent School District. “They do a fabulous job, and, with their scope of expertise, we receive great care for our students!”

Part of the reason that the demand for LPNs is expected to continue to increase is that the baby boomer generation is creating a surge in demand for medical and rehabilitative services. Studies assert that 10,000 people a day will turn 65 now through 2030, making LPNs vital in skilled nursing facilities and home health jobs.

“LPNs are a niche market as health care continues to evolve. Home health care is one of those growing options, and we do not see the need for LPNs decreasing, going forward,” said Nicoleen Meyer, VP of Clinical Services for Accurate Home Care. “Some clients may struggle to afford in-home care from a registered nurse (RN). Our LPNs provide quality of care for a more affordable cost.”

The demand for LPNs is also being created by the desire of some prospective students to start working in health care sooner and become a registered nurse after they are already working in the field.

“We strongly encourage students to consider beginning their career as an LPN,” said Wilson. “Not only does it allow them to start earning a pay check sooner, many employers provide education tuition assistance which could help defer some, if not all, of the cost of the longer RN program and allow them to become an RN while they work.”

The BLS reports that the median annual wage for an LPN is $44,090.

For more information about the Anoka Technical Practical Nursing program, visit: AnokaTech.edu/ProgramsCourses/HealthScienceTech/PracticalNursing


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