Becoming an LPN Kansas
Kansas LPNs provide restorative and supportive care. They work under the supervision of registered nurses or medical professionals (doctors or dentists). If a few basic conditions are met, there is a lot they can do! LPNs spend a big portion of their time providing basic care, helping patients understand procedures, taking down information, and carrying out technical tasks. They are no strangers to tubes and needles. LPNs can make nursing diagnoses. They can educate others about the nursing process. An LPN can be a supervisor or even administrator, provided that the required supervision is in place.
The activities LPNs carry out must be appropriate to their education. The Board notes that industry is a guide to what’s acceptable education for nursing-related tasks. What is typically expected by facilities? What is typically expected by insurance?
LPN Education and Training in Kansas
A Kansas practical nursing program may be completed in less than a year; licensure is dependent on successful examination. Many positions, though, require expertise beyond the entry-level whether gained through experience or additional formal training. Some LPNs, for example, seek IV certification.
Some Kansas facilities will consider either RNs or LPNs for wound care. Wound care can be a surprisingly important part of the picture when one serves the elderly, disabled, and chronically ill. Ulcerations can be exacerbated by diabetes or by physical inactivity; today’s nurses work to prevent as well as treat.
Some nursing tasks, of course, will be beyond the scope of even a very well-prepared LPN. This is one reason many LPNs choose to advance their education to the RN level.
A Snapshot of the Current Hiring Market
A 2018 job search turns up many Kansas employers seeking LPNs: nursing facilities, senior living communities, clinics, home health agencies, even hospitals. The following list hints at the diverse career choices an LPN may make:
- Pediatric home health nurse
- On-call hospice LPN
- Ambulatory ‘float’ LPN
- Resident services director for senior living
- Nursing home charge nurse
- Part-time nursing home floor nurse
- LPN for geriatric behavioral health unit
- LPN for family practice clinic
- LPN to perform surgical technician duties in a community hospital
- Prior authorization nurse
- Clinic LPN for pediatric population
- Dermatology LPN for clinic and surgical settings
Long-Term Care Employment
Long-term care organizations have high need for dedicated practical nurses – and, potentially, many rewards for staff as well.
Kansas nursing facilities serve a varied population. People who score very low on a functional assessment may live in them long-term; these are people who need a lot of support with daily living. Some people are in facilities for only short periods of time convalescing. Still others have life-limiting illnesses. Units may serve particular populations, for example, transitional and rehabilitative patients.
Quality, too, varies: both quality of care and quality of life. Kansas has its challenges health-wise, and some affect nursing home populations. The most recent available AARP data indicates that, compared to the average state, Kansas has higher percentages of long-term nursing home residents who are on antipsychotic medications and higher percentages of long-term residents who require hospitalization during a given six-month period (http://www.longtermscorecard.org/databystate/state?state=KS).
There are also plenty of positives to note: Some Kansas facilities have been leaders in person-centered care. The Action Pact website chronicles the powerful results seen by early implementers of nursing home culture change: those that organized their facilities along more of a household model (http://actionpact.com/culture/intro_to_featured_stories).
The website of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) describes a key principle: Quality of life matters. The Kansas Promoting Excellent Alternatives in Kansas Nursing Homes (PEAK) program began in 2002; it later became a Medicaid incentive program (https://www.kdads.ks.gov/about-kdads/the-commitment-to-culture-change-in-kansas-adult-care-facilites). A recent study found that residents of PEAK 2.0 facilities reported higher quality of life when compared to those from facilities that didn’t have formal initiatives focused on patient-centered care (https://www.mcknights.com/news/person-centered-care-paying-dividends-at-kansas-facilities/article/711833).
Progress is not determined solely at the organizational level. One organization that allows individual staffers to register: the National Nursing Home Quality Improvement Campaign (https://www.nhqualitycampaign.org/participantNHStaff.aspx).
Assisted living facilities represent another work option. They are generally designed for elders who need only intermittent skilled services or who need services that are more limited in scope. There is a nationwide trend toward greater employment of nurses as these facilities must ensure that a match exists between what residents need and what they are able to provide.
The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living work to support individual facilities in quality improvement. Facilities can achieve recognition at three progressive levels. The following Kansas facilities are active at the silver level (as of early 2018):
- Galena Nursing & Rehab LLC
- Medicalodges Coffeyville (Coffeyville and Columbus locations)
- Vintage Park (Eureka, Osawatomie, and Paola locations)
Nursing care is delivered in many settings. Some practical nurses travel to clients who are homebound or medically fragile. Still others work in day programs that provide services for elderly or disabled adults.
LPN Salary in Kansas
Kansas Licensed Practical Nurses earned an average of $20.32 an hour in 2017. Average wages are highest in the Kansas City area ($21.39); figures for this metropolitan area include portions of both Missouri and Kansas.
Even within a particular metropolitan area, there can be a good deal of variation in wages. Those at the 90th percentile may enjoy wages $8 or more an hour higher than those at the 10th percentile.
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