Becoming an LPN in Mississippi

Mississippi needs practical nurses. They play an integral role in caring for the elderly, disabled, and chronically ill. They also help maintain the health of generally well populations.

Nursing home and assisted living facilities constitute the largest employment segment for Mississippi LPNs. Primary care is the next most common setting, though it employs less than one-third as many. Mississippi LPNs are also employed by home health agencies, hospitals, and ambulatory care centers and by many other organizations throughout the community.

Some LPNs have relatively specialized areas of practice such as rehabilitation or mental health. Geriatrics/ gerontology is the most common.

Licensed Practical Nurses work under direction. They perform procedures that are generally acceptable based on their level of training. These might include administering medication, collecting specimens, administering vaccinations, and even performing some tasks related to nasogastric tubes, chest tubes, and trachs.

LPNs also provide patient education. They assist with planning, observation, and evaluation. They complete focused assessments which include appraisal of the patient’s current status. They contribute to more comprehensive assessments. Observation and recording are among the tasks that are commonly delegated to them.

Prospective LPNs complete an approved LPN program in Mississippi and take a licensing examination. Mississippi recognizes expanded role LPNs; this is role specific and requires just a little additional training.

Long-Term, Extended Care, and Home Settings

People sometimes use the terms nursing home, nursing facility, and long-term care interchangeably, though these terms may imply different areas of focus. While many facilities strive to be homelike (more so than in generations past), they serve a large population who is not in need of a permanent home that provides this level of nursing care. Hospitals seek to discharge patients as soon as their needs can be met safely in another setting, but in many cases, they are not ready to go home. For them, the nursing facility is a place of transition.

Assisted living is an alternative to the nursing home. Assisted living facilities provide personal care, medication oversight, and limited nursing services. Mississippi places limits on who can be admitted to assisted living – the facilities are not designed as nursing homes – but in some instances, residences can be retained who have significant health needs. Mississippi has a Medicaid waiver program for adults whose needs can be met in assisted living but would otherwise require nursing home care.

Among the duties assisted living residences sometimes ask LPNs to perform: coordination of wellness practices, administration of insulin and other medications, administration of respiratory treatments, documentation of patient status, coordination of transfer and discharge, and provision of wound care. An LPN may even be considered for Director of Nursing in an assisted living facility.

Home health represents yet another option. Nurses who work for Medicare-funded home health agencies often do quite a bit of traveling on the job; patients often get just a little skilled nursing care in their home following acute episodes. Private duty LPNs, on the other hand, may do full shifts of eight or more hours with the same person. Patients may have various types of medical equipment that support their breathing, nutritional intake, or other functions. The role provides opportunities for getting to know patients in-depth. Some patients are juvenile.

The Medicare Compare website issues star rating for nationally certified nursing facilities and home health agencies.

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Clinic and Office Settings

LPNs who work in clinics and medical practices may see far more patients over the course of a month. In many cases, their patients will be healthier. However, the population will depend on the type of clinic. Many are generalist, but there is a wide variety. The following are among the clinics and practices advertising for LPNs in Mississippi in early 2018:

  • Oncology clinic
  • Otolaryngology clinic
  • Family practice
  • VA Clinic

Clinic positions often include duties like setting up examination rooms and rooming patients. LPNs maintain an orderly, sterile environment, prepare patients to see the practitioner, and keep them apprised of what’s going on. They may draw blood and collect specimens. Some duties will vary, depending on the type of clinic. One clinic noted duties related to breathing treatments: setting up humidifiers and nebulizers and utilizing special equipment for suction or oxygen.

Some clinics are headed by advanced practice nurses as opposed to doctors. The DeSoto Times Tribune reported on a new clinic, Holistic Family Health, staffed by nurses who were indeed family: a Family Nurse Practitioner and an LPN (http://www.desototimes.com/business/southaven-clinic-offers-holistic-health-option/article_98b21e6e-a7c9-11e7-9c90-7f254d1de122.html). One interesting twist: While the LPN has, clinically, a much lower scope of practice, this one owns the clinic! This type of arrangement is a big investment for someone with a passion for a particular niche.

Expanded Role LPNs

While a competent but non-IV certified LPN can perform some basic IV-related duties in a long-term care setting, there are limits. Mississippi recognizes two types of expanded practice at the LPN level: IV therapy and hemodialysis. IV therapy is a much more common specialty than hemodialysis. The Mississippi IV curriculum includes 40 hours of instruction and 40 hours of clinical experience. LPN skill performance is marked on a checklist; candidates perform the skill multiple times.

Average LPN Salary in Mississippi

Mississippi Licensed Practical Nurses earned an average $17.71 an hour in 2016.

8% growth has been projected for the 2014 to 2024 decade.

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