It’s no secret that there is a shortage of nurses. The Health Resources and Service administration predicts that the country will face a 20% shortage of nurses by 2015, and that shortage will be even greater in Pennsylvania.
If you are a nurse in Pennsylvania, you might be experiencing the train of the nursing shortage first-hand. If you are an LPN you might be wondering if it’s worth it to spend the time and energy “upgrading” to become and RN.
The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of time getting that RN. In fact, since you have already have an LPN, you have already done most of the work, and there are several RN programs in Philadelphia, and other parts of Pennsylvania, that can take you the rest of the way.
Now that you know that upgrading to an RN from an LPN is within reach, here are some reasons why you should take the leap.
Demand and Advancement
There is a greater demand for RNs in certain areas of healthcare.
Hospitals are phasing out LPN positions in favor of hiring RNs to do the same work. This is due in large part to the fact that RNs are generally qualified to take on more responsibilities than LPNs. For example, LPNs can’t usually do patient assessments, and often have to confer with RNs before making decisions about patient care. By hiring RNs, hospitals save time, and save costs, over having two people in the same role.
The demand for RNs should grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, with the greatest growth expected in outpatient care centers, such as rehabilitation centers, chemotherapy clinics, and dialysis clinics.
Beyond outpatient care centers, there is also a demand for nurses in more advanced fields such as:
Nurse Practitioners, who often do the same work as medical doctors including diagnosing patients, prescribing medication, and ordering screening tests. As patients and insurance companies lean more toward urgent care centers, and pharmacy medical clinics, there will be a greater demand for nurses who can diagnose and treat patients in these settings.
Nurse Epidemiologists, who work on the front lines during disease outbreaks, and also work behind the scenes to develop protocols for containing and treating infectious diseases. Nurse epidemiologists played a vital role during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in the West Africa, and in previous disease outbreaks the world over.
Nurse Midwives, who perform the same duties as and OB-GYN including delivering babies and also providing gynecological, prenatal and post-natal care.
Of course, there is still a demand for LPNs, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 25-percent growth from 2012 to 2022. However, the bulk of that growth is expected to occur in nursing homes, home nursing care, and rural settings where other medical care might not be available. While the demand for LPNs appears to be greater, RNS often have better opportunities to work in different fields, and greater chances of advancement than LPNs.
RNs earn more than LPNs. As of 2012, the median income for Registered Nurses was $65,470, versus $41, 540 for LPNs. The higher income rate is due in part to the additional training that RNs need, and also in part to the fact that RNs tend to take on more responsibilities.
As an LPN, you have strong job prospects, and many of the skills you need to meet the future demand for healthcare professionals in Pennsylvania and beyond. However, as medicine and medical procedures become more advanced, so too will medical treatment centers need staff that can keep up with the new technology and techniques.
By “upgrading” from an LPN to an RN, you can ensure that you have the skills, training, and experience to keep up with the medicine of the future and ensure that you can use your skills and training in a variety of fields, and even pave the way to more education and greater career advancement.
Becoming an RN also means that you can increase your earning potential to get the most out of your financial investment in your future.
If you are considering turning in that LPN for an RN, now is the time to take the leap.