An Untapped Resource in the Nursing Workforce? Licensed Practical Nurses who Transition to Become Registered Nurses

June 7, 2018

Cheryl B. Jones, PhD, RN, FAAN

Presentation at the National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers 2017 Conference


Presentation Overview

  • LPNs are a largely overlooked sector of the nursing workforce and research is lacking.
    • LPNS are a more diverse group than RNs
    • Many work outside of hospitals and in underserved areas
    • They have clinical, task-related experiences
    • LPNs need training for the broader scope of RN care, e.g., patient assessment, planning of care, etc.
  • LPN-to-RN transitions provide an opportunity to expand and enhance the RN workforce and create a meaningful career ladder for LPNs to advance their professional ability, increase their income, and contribute to their communities
  • This study examines LPN-to-RN transitions by describing  the occurrence of LPN-to-RN professional transitions using NC data; comparing demographic, professional and geographic characteristics of LPNs who did and did not make professional transitions; evaluating professional and geographic characteristics of LPNs who transitioned in the year before and the year of transition
  • Retrospective study used licensure data housed by the NC Health Professions Data System
  • LPNs who became RNs (vs. those who did not) were more likely to be male; nonwhite; licensed at a younger age; working in hospital inpatient or medical-surgical settings; working part-time; or located in rural areas


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This work is funded through cooperative agreement U81HP26495, Health Workforce Research Centers, with the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis, Bureau of Health Professions, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The content and conclusions are those of the authors and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.