Practical Nursing in Georgia

Georgia has more than 30,000 licensed practical nurses. They play some very important roles in caring for a population that is growing older and developing more chronic illnesses. LPNs provide nursing treatments to elderly and disabled citizens in facilities and private homes. They also oversee the work of unlicensed caregivers and carry out basic functions in clinics and doctor’s offices. Many work with the elderly. Some work with children. Still others work with people who are recovering from substance abuse.

LPNs most often work in long-term and sub-acute care settings. A practical nursing certificate or diploma doesn’t provide the level of training necessary for most hospital positions. However, it can be a first step into nursing (LPN programs in Georgia). Academic progression in nursing – achieving higher degrees – can be important for meeting personal career goals as well as helping the state meet its workforce needs.

LPNs in Nursing Facilities

Today’s nursing homes provide a wealth of services. A majority of residents enter for short-term rehabilitation care.

One nursing home can feel very different from another, from the perspective of either an employee or a resident. A number of organizations seek to compare. NRC Health carries out a large but very simple survey of skilled nursing. Their objectives are to find out 1) whether clients recommend the facility and 2) whether associates (employees) recommend it. Those who score in the upper echelon nationwide on either criteria are recognized. If one looks at the data at a state level, Georgia is high, having won two years running. Here people participate – and people recommend.

The following are among the facilities that scored in the upper ranks in both categories and also placed in at least the “above average” category according to Medicare Compare (which uses a more objective set of criteria to compare facilities from a resident perspective):

  • WellStar Paulding Nursing Center – Dallas
  • Waycross Health & Rehab
  • Twin Oaks Convalescent Center – Alma
  • The Oaks – Marshalville
  • Regency Park Health & Rehabilitation – Dalton
  • PruittHealth – Blue Ridge and Toomsboro locations
  • Meadows Park Health and Rehab – Vidalia
  • Lake Crossing Health Center – Appling
  • Gwinnett Extended Care Center – Lawrenceville
  • Cobblestone Rehab & Health Care – Moultrie
  • Coastal Manor – Ludowici
  • G. Rhodes Home@Cobb – Marietta

One exciting program that is being implemented in many Georgia facilities: Music and Memory. Personalized music can help with memory issues and also soothe some of the disquiet that comes with dementia. A grant by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services could allow as many as 150 Georgia nursing homes to get the program up and running (http://www.ghca.info/mips).

LPNs in Assisted Living

Senior living facilities provide an alternative. They may include general assisted living units and memory care units. LPNs may supervise the work of medication assistants and other caregivers. They may provide direct care, including medication administration. They may also be involved in programming. Making rounds will likely be among the duties. Some LPNs make rounds together with a physician.

Sometimes assisted living facilities will consider a strong candidate who has nursing credentials at the LPN level for positions as high as wellness director or resident services director.

One recent posting for a Health and Wellness Director in a memory care community stated that nursing licensure was required while advanced coursework in geriatrics, rehabilitation, and nursing management was preferred. Also required were three years of long-term care or assisted living experience and a successful record of supervising others.

Many long-term care and senior living organizations belong to the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. AHCA and NCAL have a three level recognition program that seeks to foster quality as well as reward it. One Georgia facility, the Effingham County Care Center in Springfield, achieved gold in 2015. Nationwide, only a handful of facilities achieve this distinction in a given year. The lower levels are much more common. Fully 12 Georgia facilities made it to the silver level in 2015.

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Other LPN Employment Options

Many LPNs also work in homes, through home health or private duty nursing. Services can include medication administration, catheter care, and care of individuals requiring feeding tubes; this is in addition to more basic duties like taking vitals. Some positions are shift work for clients who need round-the-clock care. Others involve provision of skilled nursing services to those who need only intermittent care. Even so, the one-on-one setting can mean opportunities for ‘quality time’ as one employer describes it. Many organizations boast recognition through Home Care Elite.

Organizations also seek nursing professionals to provide one-on-one care in school settings.

Office and clinic work is another viable option. Early 2018 finds healthcare organizations seeking LPNs to work in primary care, urgent care, pediatric, and outpatient substance abuse recovery settings, among others. One will find multiple postings for nurses who can carry out basic duties in medication-assisted treatment facilities. Duties can include tallying medication, dispensing medication, observing patients, and playing a role in the assessment process.

Academic Progression in Nursing

LPNs who do want to move into inpatient or emergency care or other positions of high responsibility can take advantage of LPN to RN programs. How easy it is to move from one sector to another will depend in part on the market. Recent years have seen shortage in Georgia – and a lot of talk about where Georgia’s next generation of RNs will come from!

Career Outlook and Average LPN Salary in Georgia

16% LPN occupational growth has been projected for Georgia across the 2014 to 2024 decade.

Georgia’s Licensed Practical Nurses earned an average of $19.35 an hour during 2016 ($40,250 for a year of 40 hour weeks.)

Related:

How to become a Registered Nurse in Georgia

RN Programs in Georgia

Medical Assistant Programs in Gerogia

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