Becoming an LPN in Wyoming

Wyoming’s Licensed Practical Nurses have training that is more practical than theoretical — it’s about the ‘how’ more than the ‘why’. The vast majority of the state’s LPN’s have entered the field with vocational nursing certificates (LPN Programs in Wyoming); this is sufficient for sitting for the NCLEX-PN exam and achieving licensure. Practical nursing can be a long-term career or a step along the path.

LPNs are not expected to carry out duties that require the level of judgment of an RN. LPNs can plan episodic care for patients whose conditions are basically stable. Because their training allows for somewhat greater autonomy in some situations than others, LPNs tend to find their niche in particular segments of the healthcare market.

LPNs can, in many situations, delegate to nursing assistants and medication assistants.

LPNs do have some restrictions on the technical nursing duties they can perform. The Board periodically issues advisory statement about different tasks, for example, when it is appropriate for an LPN to remove sutures or staples. Wyoming recognizes two levels of certification for IV-related tasks. The advanced certification also authorizes some hemodialysis tasks in non-acute settings.

Wyoming LPN Work Settings and Roles

The Wyoming Board of Nursing, in partnership with the Wyoming Center for Nursing, released a practical nurse workforce report in 2015 based on licensing data.

LPNs were, by and large, staff nurses — this is a general term for nurses who provide direct patient care. Small percentages identified their role as one of the following: nurse manager, nurse faculty, or “other health-related”.

The greatest proportion of the state’s LPNs were working in nursing home settings. At this time, hospital settings employed more LPNs than either ambulatory care or home health settings. A substantial group selected the “other” category.

Nationwide, there is some trend away from utilizing LPNs in hospital inpatient care. LPNs may work for hospital systems in various capacities.

Recent Openings

A 2018 job search turns up varied positions outside long-term care. The following are among them:

  • Carrying out varied duties in a residential vocational training setting
  • Acting as staff nurse at an assisted living community
  • Serving as an IV-certified LPN in an urgent care clinic
  • Providing nursing services in a corrections setting
  • Working under RN direction at a hospital-based clinic

Some positions include a wide range of responsibilities. The residential vocational position includes providing first aid, monitoring students at the infirmary, coordinating a range of programs and clinics (everything from tuberculosis testing to weight management), and assisting with pregnancy and tobacco cessation programs, among other duties.

There are of course many positions in Wyoming nursing homes.

Nursing Homes and Extended Care

Many people think of nursing homes as a place where people are maintained over a long period of time in poor health. This is an outdated image. Nursing facilities today serve multiple functions. Some facilities have units designed specifically for short-term rehabilitation or sub-acute care. These are designed as a transition between hospital and home. Strokes, cardiac events, and hip replacement surgeries are among the possible precipitating events.

Some conditions, of course, will worsen over time. Even so, quality of life and level of functioning maybe improved over baseline. Dementia is among them. The following Wyoming nursing homes and care organizations are certified in Music and Memory, a program that helps engage and calm individuals with dementia by connecting them with personally relevant music:

  • Central Wyoming Hospice And Transitions in in Casper
  • Green House Living for Sheridan
  • Pioneer Manor in Gillette
  • Senior Center of Jackson Hole in Jackson
  • Shepherd of the Valley Health Care in Casper
  • Westward Heights Care Center in Lander

One can find information about Music and Memory on the website of Green House Living for Sheridan (http://sheridangreenhouse.org/). Green House homes are part of a national movement to redesign nursing homes to be less like a hospital and more like a home. The Green House is one of multiple models for person-centered care.

Physical functioning, too, can be improved. Rawlins Rehabilitation and Wellness, for example, boasts a restorative nursing program that includes ambulation, strengthening, rehabilitative dining, and bladder training.

Nursing homes are not all equally successful. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services provides star ratings for nursing facilities. Separate criteria are considered for short-stay and long-stay residents. CMS considers safety inspections and staffing as well as care quality when rating facilities.

Other organizations seek to recognize and foster quality. Rawlins Health and Rehabilitation achieved silver level in 2017 in the American Health Care Association/ National Center for Assisted Living quality improvement program. This is a relatively high honor. Very few facilities around the nation make it to the gold level.

Career Outlook and Average LPN Salary in Wyoming

Wyoming LPNs averaged $21.92 in 2016; this is above the national average. Full-time employment could mean $45,590 a year.

LPNs are found in the highest concentration in the Central and Southeast regions of the state.

8% growth has been projected for the Wyoming LPN occupation over the course of the 2014 to 2024 decade.

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