LPN Employment Transitions: A Signal of Changing Value to Employers? (2017-18)

Investigators: Cheryl Jones, PhD, RN, FAAN; Mark Toles, PhD, RN; George Knafl, PhD


Prior research suggests that licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPNs/LVNs) are an untapped resource in the health workforce that could bring much needed diversity to nursing care delivery. This study builds on the Center’s expertise modeling nursing career trajectories to investigate how LPN employment has changed over the past 10 years.

Background: Using the dataset developed in our Year 2 project, we will extend our descriptive work to model the key predictors LPN employment transitions.

Study aims: This project will characterize LPN employment-related transitions from 2003-2013 (i.e., the number of transitions; the settings from and to which LPNs transitioned; the year of the employment transition; the length of time since most recent employment transition; changes in hours worked; participation in the workforce; and demographics [age, race, gender]). We will model predictors of LPN employment transitions, based on LPNs’ socio-demographic, geographic, professional, and socio-economic factors, including past transitions and the most recent transition. The results of this project will:

  1. Provide information that helps the field better understand the value of LPNs in the health workforce, as changes in their employment signal employers’ willingness (and perhaps even “preference”) to hire LPNs;
  2. Provide important employment information to HRSA about one of the most ethnically/racially diverse sectors of the health workforce that delivers care to patients in geriatrics, primary care, behavioral health, hospice, and home health settings; and
  3. Will inform nursing educational programs as they train, and health care organizations as they deploy, this important sector of the workforce to meet the changing needs of patients and the health care system.

Alignment with BHW priorities. This project relates to Section 792 of Title VII which calls for longitudinal evaluations to study practice patterns of health professionals. It will inform efforts to increase the diversity of the health workforce through Health Professions Training for Diversity Programs (§§736-741) and Title VII funding to develop nursing career ladders. It will also inform PHSA program/activity (§747A) Training Opportunities for Direct Care Workers.


Related HWRC projects: 

Pathways in Nursing Careers: Transitions from the Role of Licensed Practical Nurse to Registered Nurse in North Carolina (2014-15)

Predicting Role Transitions for the LPN-to-RN Workforce in North Carolina (2015-16)

Barriers and facilitators for the LPN-to-RN transition: Perspectives from practicing LPNs (2016-17)


Project Products: 

Research Briefs
Presentations, webinars, and refereed conference papers and posters