Yes, LPN’s Can Work Somewhere Other Than a Nursing Home

One of the most incorrect statements that an LPN may hear, especially from their own peers, is that LPN’s have no other options than to work in a nursing home. Working in a nursing home is not appealing to everyone. On the other side, there are many nurses who enter the nursing field specifically to work in a nursing home. To hear that you only have one option to choose for a career can be a bit disappointing.

As an LPN myself, I always felt a bit pressured into working at a nursing home. Long-term care was just never something that interested me. Because of that, I have been asked many times why I even bothered going to school for practical nursing. From personal experience, I can attest that there are so many other types of jobs that LPN’s can find outside of skilled nursing facilities. See other LPN careers.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, 37% of licensed practical nurses worked in a nursing care facility or residential care facility in 2012. This includes long-term skilled nursing home and short-term rehabilitative centers. These places hold the highest ranking of employment for LPN’s but there are also several other places of employment that we have available to consider.

Another huge misconception is that LPN’s are being “phased out”, as in there will no longer be any positions for LPN’s. That is completely false and according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, LPN’s will see an increase in opportunities through 2020!

So what other options do licensed practical nurses have besides working in long-term or rehabilitative care?

Doctor’s offices hire LPN’s quite frequently. There are an endless amount of possibilities when it comes to working in a physician’s office. You can treat pediatric patients all the way to geriatric patients. Or, you could work in a specialty office. Some specialty practices include:  dermatology, endocrinology, cardiac specialists, and many, many more!

Another great bonus to working in a physician’s office is that there are usually two routes that you can pursue. On one route, you can work in the clinical area. Some of your job duties will be taking vital signs, administering medications and/or shots, performing EKG’s, pulmonary function tests (PFT’s), etc.

The second route is administrative. You can work behind the scenes and answer calls, take messages for the doctor, call patients, etc. Some LPN’s work as the office manager for the practices as well. Some LPN’s can even choose to rotate between working in the clinical and clerical areas.

Home health care is another popular option for LPN’s. Many home health care agencies do prefer (some require) at least 6 months of experience working in long-term care before they will consider hiring you. And again, there are a wide variety of patients that need home health nurses.

Another possible place of employment are at addiction clinics. Some of these clinics include clients seeking treatment for alcohol or opiate dependence.

bigstock-Portrait-Of-Male-Nurse-Working-55983770Hospitals also hire LPN’s. However, not every hospital still hires LPN’s. Some hospitals have obtained or are trying to obtain “magnet status”, so they will only hire RN’s to perform nursing duties. It doesn’t mean that you cannot obtain a position in a hospital but you will likely have a different job title other than being an LPN.

LPN’s can also have the option of working as an occupational health nurse. Many employers, including factories, will hire them to promote safety and administer medical attention as needed. This is an independent nursing position with little supervision.

Working as a dialysis nurse is another path that an LPN can pursue. There is a need for dialysis nurses to travel to the patients’ home, work at a center, or in a hospital setting.

Some other options include community mental health centers, school systems, outpatient centers, correctional facilities, and more! Long story short, there are numerous places that LPN’s can seek employment so don’t ever feel discouraged.

Emily Belcher, LPN

Emily Belcher has been an LPN for 5 years and enjoys writing about holistic health care on her personal blog, TheUnextreme. Some topics related to holistic healthcare that you may find on her site are related to aromatherapy, crystal therapy, and healthy living.