Nursing Shortage: A Logical "PRACTICAL" Solution
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We, the undersigned Nurses and Taxpaying Public Citizens, implore the United States Congress to address our Countrys Nursing Shortage through legislation to enable the thousands of United States Licensed Practical Nurses meet proposed new requirements to sit for boards and transition to Registered Nurse.
The time has come for our Legislators and Educators to address the considerable resources of the already educated, experienced, and available, LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE.
We propose a fair and logical solution for change to the educational requirements for transition from LPN to RN, as LPNs are already practicing at a degreed RN skill level. All States currently have different Scope of Practice Regulations for Licensed Practical Nurses; most of which limit our practice in name only, and are composed in such a way that we are required to have the skills and perform the tasks of the RN, while not being acknowledged nor compensated for.
The current trends regarding the Nursing Shortage concentrate on the shortage of educators, the age and upcoming retirement of current RNs, how to retain and prevent current RNs from leaving the profession, and how to recruit high-school students. Although these issues all need to be addressed, solutions all involve a considerable lag-time.
As the National Council of State Nursing Boards is continuously promoting higher education for the Nursing Profession; increasing prerequisites for LPN Program admission, and raising the pass score for LPN Licensure, they are simultaneously creating and promoting certification of UNLICENSED Personnel. This is illogical.
We propose a certification program be enacted whereby experienced LPNs can be certified in ASSESSMENT, DELEGATION, AND CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS, and be allowed to sit for RN Licensure.
THE LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE SCOPE OF PRACTICE needs to be UNIFIED throughout the Country, and UPDATED by all States to INCLUDE ASSESSMENT, DELEGATION, AND CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS. WE ARE PERFORMING these duties; we are EXPECTED to perform these duties, and we are QUALIFIED to perform these duties.
The Licensed Practical Nurse has thus far been completely and unjustly ignored in all studies and proposed solutions to the Nursing Crisis; so much so, that Congress will, and has enacted new legislation/regulation for more UNLICENSED PERSONNEL to care for the sick and disabled of our Country.
As thousands of LPNs are currently practicing and contributing to the health care, tax-base, and economy of this Country, and even with our considerable skills and experience, we are being undermined and replaced by legislation for the less educated, inexperienced, and Unlicensed Medical Technicians, Medication Aides, and now, Paid Feeding Assistants. We have systematically been pushed out of the hospital setting, while being replaced by Foreign Nurses; and now, with Federal and State regulation for Unlicensed Staff, our Countrys Hospitals and Long Term Care Facilities can operate at a much lower cost by employing the less educated to care for our ill and disabled.
We oppose the increased use of and legislation for Unlicensed Personnel in our Hospitals and Long Term Care Facilities, while the experienced Licensed Nurses of this country are ignored; and propose that these practices are contrary to improving the failing Health Care System in our Country.
With the sky-rocketing costs all Americans now pay for Health Insurance, if they can get it; REPLACING TAXPAYING LICENSED NURSES with UNLICENSED Personnel in our Hospitals and Nursing Homes is UNACCEPTABLE.
Furthermore, we believe the current practice of utilizing Foreign Nurses, while ignoring the Experienced, Qualified LPN, is further evidence of the collapse of the Health Care System in the United States.
We believe in setting standards and criteria for professional nursing, but also know that no amount of general study courses can replace the years of work experience and job requirements that thousands of LPNs already have. To ignore this vast pool of QUALIFIED NURSES is an INJUSTICE to all working, Taxpaying, Licensed Practical Nurses and the General Public of our Country.
We, the undersigned Nurses and Taxpayers, believe this to be the most logical and cost-effective way ease our Countrys Nursing Shortage and ensure Quality of Care for all.