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LPNs need for Greying Tsunami


CONTACT: Janyce L. Collier, MSN, RN, CNE, President of PAPNA

PHONE: 717-263-5667 EMAIL:


Identifies front and center role of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and discredits forecast that LPN position will be phased out.


Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – October 27, 2017. As Pennsylvania braces for record numbers of Baby Boomers needing some form of long term care over the next thirty years, nursing shortages and the health care demands of the state’s fastest growing population segment of 85-plus year olds -- the Pennsylvania Association of Practical Nursing Administrators released a groundbreaking report last week at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, PA.

In Pennsylvania, the demand for Licensed Practical Nursing will remain one of the highest in the nation due to its ranking as the fourth largest graying state in the country. The need is even higher among the state’s older population living in rural areas – some of the highest in the United States – that are more significantly affected by nursing shortages.

In fact, in a report just released by the Health Resources Services Administration, Pennsylvania will face a 28 percent shortage of LPNs in 2030 among one of the highest largely populated states in the nation (Supply & Demand Projections of the Nursing Workforce: 2014-2030).

Licensed Practical Nurses spend a full year of intensive education and clinical training and must pass a national certification exam. LPNs perform direct nursing care in the frontlines of nursing homes, assisted living centers, home health, hospice, doctor’s offices and rehabilitation centers. They work collaboratively with Registered Nurses and are supervised by them.

Nearly half of all nursing care in skilled nursing facilities and assisted living centers is rendered by Licensed Practical Nurses – not only in direct care but as supervisors, as well. New patients and new venues of care illustrated by the growth of retail clinics and urgent care centers along with the expansion of home health and rehabilitative care offer even more career opportunities for practical nursing and nursing on all fronts.


Key highlights of the reports are:

The enrollment of practical nursing students during the decade of 2003-2013 has excelled by 33 percent and the pass rates among Pennsylvania students of the NCLEX-PN licensure exam has been consistently above the national average.

The average salary for an LPN in the state is $42,880 per year with an expected job growth rate of 16 percent -- double the forecast for all U.S. Occupations.

There are 58 Practical Nursing Programs throughout the state: 57 percent are offered by Career Technical Schools (Vo-Tech), 24 percent by private schools and 19 percent by community colleges. The usual course of study is one year.

In Pennsylvania, 36 percent of LPNs work in rural areas – this is twice as many as Registered Nurses and 12 percent higher than the national average. One out of 4 rural residents is 65 years and older.

Licensed Practical Nurses represent the most significant path towards a culturally diverse healthcare workforce in the Commonwealth: 14 percent of LPNs are African-American in Pennsylvania compared to 5 percent of Registered Nurses and 11.7 percent of the state’s general population.


Despite a voluntary call by the Institute of Medicine for college-degreed nursing to become the entry-level degree to the field, the health care industry continues to stimulate demand for Licensed Practical Nurses. And that won’t be abating anytime soon, according to Dr. Linda Rhodes, author of the report and a former Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging:

“Licensed Practical Nurses are both highly skilled and affordable. There is no indication that Medicare, state budgets or other third-party payers will be increasing reimbursement rates for home health care, physician visits, hospice care or skilled nursing care in the near future to accommodate higher salary demands at the BSN level. Nor will families be able to afford to pay for it; they already struggle to cover one-quarter of the nation’s long-term care bill out-of-pocket.”

According to Janyce L. Collier, MSN, RN, CNE, President of PAPNA, “The future of Licensed Practical Nursing bodes well for practical nursing students, health care providers, and the educational institutions that teach them. We believe that this landmark report will inform and assure the public, healthcare providers, policy and lawmakers and the 52,000-plus Licensed Practical nurses throughout the state that their vocation is critically needed and will thrive in the decades to come.”

For a copy of the report and downloadable Info-graphics on: The “LPN Advantage,” “Practical Nursing by the Numbers” and “Nursing Pathways” visit Also included on the website is a chart showing LPNs employed by county in Pennsylvania.

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