What Does the Future Hold for LPNs?
If you have been thinking about beginning a practical nursing career, you may be concerned about the profession's outlook. Of course, you want a job that offers stability both now and in years to come, but is this what the future holds for LPNs? While nobody can predict the future with 100 percent certainty, we can rely on statistics and trends such as those described below.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Predictions
First of all, let us start by looking at a few statistics provided by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the BLS, positions in the field of practical and vocational nursing will likely increase at a rate of around 25 percent until the year 2022.
This rate is much faster than the predicted rate of growth for all occupations in the country, which is only about 11 percent until 2022. What this basically means is that approximately 182,900 new LPN positions will become available in the United States during the time period between 2015 and 2022.
A Shift to Home Healthcare
One nursing trend that will likely become more pronounced in the future is an increasing shift to home healthcare. Many people today, especially the elderly, prefer to receive essential medical care within their own homes. But home healthcare is not just limited to geriatric patients: Other people who may choose this form of care include those listed here.
- Chronically Ill Individuals
- Terminally Ill Patients
- Patients in Rehabilitative Programs
- Disabled Persons of All Ages
A Move to Long-Term Care Facilities
Another trend that is on the horizon for LPNs is a move to long-term care facilities. This does not mean that acute care facilities will discontinue the practice of hiring LPNs. However, with an ever-growing elderly population today, there will simply be a much greater need for practical nurses in such long-term care facilities as nursing homes, adult day cares, and hospice care centers.
A Demand for More Educated Nurses
Finally, although there will be an increasing demand for LPNs over the next several years, it is expected that there will be more competition for available positions as well. As such, in an effort to find the best candidates for them, many facilities are already looking for LPNs who have the most qualifications.
Just how do you stay on top of the game? The best way is by earning one or more specialty LPN certifications. Since specialty certifications prove your expertise in various areas, they can both increase your chances of getting a good job. Common areas of specialty include geriatrics, hospice care, and home healthcare.