Practical Nursing in Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s Licensed Practical Nurses provide nursing care in settings like nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and home health agencies. As the title implies, they have practical nursing training. They typically work under the direction of registered nurses. Sometimes they are under the direction of healthcare providers; this is common in office or practice settings. Part of what distinguishes the LPN scope of practice is that LPNs render care in situations where there will be predictable outcomes; they follow standardized procedures in providing care.

Rhode Island LPNs may delegate to nursing assistants. It is not uncommon for them to have some level of authority in nursing home settings. LPNs may provide direct care and also function in a charge nurse capacity. Nursing homes and extended care facilities are the most common LPN work setting nationwide.

LPNs Working in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

Nursing facilities provide long-term care and short-term rehabilitative services. They may offer specialized programs such as cardiac management and pulmonary management. Transitional care units are designed to ease the transition between hospital and home.

Memory care units serve individuals with dementia. This is an area where one can benefit from training well beyond the minimum. Rhode Island, like many states, boasts a dementia care coalition that participates in sharing of best practices (https://www.nhqualitycampaign.org/files/State_Dementia_Care_Coalition_Best-Practice_Strategies.pdf). Among the goals is reduction of off-label psychiatric medication. There are a number of innovative programs that can engage residents with dementia and reduce agitation.

Rhode Island is ranked a little below average on the multi-faceted AARP long-term services and supports scorecard (http://www.longtermscorecard.org/databystate/state?state=RI); it’s not the easiest state in which to age. One thing the state does very well, though, is keeping nursing home residents out of the hospital. Here it’s #5 in the nation. It’s also in the top quartile with regard to preventing pressure ulcers. This is one sign of nursing home quality.

The Rhode Island Health Care Association has a facility finder, organized by city (https://www.rihca.com/facility-finder/).

Assisted living organizations also house frail and elderly individuals. They are adjusting to the responsibilities of housing at-risk residents. There are some duties that must be carried out by RNs. However, the roles carried out by LPNs are many and varied.

Rhode Island licenses assisted living at M1 and M2 levels. A key duty is medication administration. An example of a duty that could only be carried out by a licensed nurse is insulin injection.

The following are among the duties that Rhode Island’s assisted living organizations have noted in their job postings:

  • Observing and documenting resident condition
  • Directing, supervising, and mentoring resident assistants
  • Providing case management/ coordinating care that is provided through other community resources
  • Coordinating health-related educational programming

Assisted living nurses also need to be competent in recognizing and responding to emergency situations.

Some assisted living facilities, too, are licensed to provide memory care.

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Other LPN Work Settings

LPNs employed in home health may care for adult or pediatric populations. Some patients are technologically dependent. Agencies may advertise for LPNs with skills like trach and ventilator care.

Bayada Home Health is among the major home health employers. Another is Maxim Healthcare Services.

Home care organizations may advertise flexible scheduling as a perk. Technology is changing many aspects of nursing care, including – sometimes – scheduling.

Practical nurses may also work in clinics, practices, or other outpatient settings. They can carry out duties under direction in hospital settings but are less likely to be employed in situations where patients have acute/ critical needs.

One recent Rhode Island LPN posting was for intake coordinator for a hospital. Another was for plasma center nurse.

Some LPNs take on indirect care roles outside traditional healthcare settings. An example would be reimbursement specialist.

Exemplary Rhode Island Health Organizations for LPNs to Seek Employment

NRC Health carries out a largescale but very brief survey designed to gauge satisfaction of workers and residents. Three of Rhode Island’s skilled nursing facilities were recognized by NRC Health in the workplace category in 2017: Tockwotton Home in East Providence, Village House in Newport, and Westerly Health Center.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living have a three-stage program that develops quality as well as recognizes it. Very few facilities nationwide make it to the gold level. One Rhode Island facility reached silver level in 2017: Elderwood of Scallop Shell at Wakefield.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issues star ratings to certified facilities based on objective sets of measurable data. Ratings are available for nursing homes, home health and hospice.

Becoming an LPN in Rhode Island and Advancing LPN Careers

A prospective LPN who is living in Rhode Island will complete the prescribed practical nursing curriculum (LPN programs in Rhode Island) and then take a licensing examination.

Some LPNs further their education and become RNs (LPN to RN programs and LPN to BSN programs). This can mean more opportunities and an even higher salary.

LPN Salary in Rhode Island and Career Outlook

Rhode Island LPNs averaged $26.64 an hour in 2016; this is the second highest pay rate in the nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics equates this to $55,410 a year.

Rhode Island has been projected to see 7% LPN occupational growth between 2014 and 2024.

Related Articles:

Becoming a CNA in Rhode Island

Becoming a Medical Assistant in Rhode Island

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