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Glens Falls Hospital sets five-year time line to phase out LPN staff

2011-10-26T17:45:00Z Glens Falls Hospital sets five-year time line to phase out LPN staffBLAKE JONES -- bjones@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
October 26, 2011 5:45 pm  • 

GLENS FALLS -- Glens Falls Hospital has approved a five-year time line for phasing out licensed practical nurse positions in favor of adding more registered nurses.

Hospital officials began discussing the plan with staff this summer. More recently, a five-year plan was approved.

Hospital spokeswoman Sandra DiNoto said some departments will phase out LPNs before the five-year mark, as nurses retire. As of August, the hospital's Glens Falls campus employed 100 LPNs.

Officials said the goal is to have more staff on the floor who can respond to and make decisions about patient care.

Registered nurses operate under a physician's supervision and are able to assess, triage and coordinate patient care.

In contrast, LPNs can administer medication and provide treatments, but only under the supervision of a registered nurse.

Across the country, hospitals are phasing out their LPNs, forcing those workers to become RNs or apply for nurse's aide positions to stay with their employers.

Glens Falls Hospital has been working to increase its RN staff through attrition - when an LPN leaves, an RN is hired. Now it hopes to make a more concerted effort to bring its staff in line with industry standards.

"We are one of the last hospitals in this region to go this route," DiNoto said.

LPNs are encouraged to go back to school and complete their registered nurse education by 2017. Those who opt not to pursue other training will be able to apply for other positions at the hospital. Their salaries will not be reduced if they transfer roles.

"We are being really sensitive to the fact that a lot of people have been in these roles for a long time and doing a lot of good," DiNoto said.

The hospital has partnered with Excelsior College and Sage College of Albany to streamline access to undergraduate degree programs for staff nurses. Tuition assistance will be offered.

The industry is also pushing more educational requirements for RNs. For example, the Institute of Medicine has recommended an 80 percent increase in the number of RNs with bachelor's degrees by 2020.

The hospital is also working toward that goal through the Excelsior partnership.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(12) Comments

  1. Frustratedone2
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    Frustratedone2 - October 30, 2011 2:16 am
    LocalRN. So did your husband go to school and pay thousands of dollars to learn how to skin a deer? And skinning a deer is no comparison to being a surgeon. And your neighbor did he spend time in school to learn to do taxes, is he paying the state to hold a CPA license?? Again non of this is relevant to this situation. LPN's went to school passed state boards, most have worked several years in the field, learning even more as we went along, took extra classes to keep up with new things,most of us can do IV's, we do EKG's most RN's don't even have a clue where the stickers go. Last week I had been in a patient's room so many more times , and did more for him than the RN did I had a family member say are you sure you are the LPN? You seem to be able to answer more of our questions than the RN and we have seen you much more. But we are replacable? You say want to do the job get the degree? We got our degree and our license, we like what we have been doing for years we are good at it.
  2. LocalRN
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    LocalRN - October 29, 2011 2:30 pm
    When RNs work w LPN they're responsible for 8-12 patient's assessments, IV meds, order verification, plans of care &haVE to verify everything delegated to the LPN & NA. LPNs are wonderful at their abilities within their scope of practice but in the hospital, I'd rather my RN have 4-5 patients without the LPN. Having worked at a Magnet hospital, GFH has not even mentioned this BTW, I had 5 patients. I did change bedpans, dressings, perform baths, but that IS what NA was hired for so I could assess & interpret patient's labs, vitals, meds. I also had time to listen & educate patients & believe it or not, I actually was able to sit w a dying patient & hold her hand. ALSO-the RNs are having to further their degree too, many hosp aren't hiring RNs w/out a BS degree. No profession stays stagnent, my neighbor is really good at taxes but he's not a CPA. My husband can skin a deer-not going to let him do surgery. Want to do the job- get the degree. IT IS ABOUT THE PATIENT-do some research.
  3. Frustratedone2
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    Frustratedone2 - October 28, 2011 3:32 am
    justmy2cents4U said: "So are the RNs going to empty the bedpans now?"

    Are you kidding. Most RN's won't even put a patient on a bed pan much less empty one. And when the LPN's are gone they will run the aides ragged. Or should I say the LPN's that are being forced to be the aides.

  4. sammy123
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    sammy123 - October 27, 2011 4:38 pm
    In times of economic challenges and nursing shortages why in the world would GFH do this other than prestige. The very board of nursing that are making these decisions are suppose to represent LPNs also. What happened to that? Who is representing the LPNS? LPNs will all be out of jobs but you allow the universities to continue with the LPN education. How fickle is that? Who is going to flip the bill for all the higher paid RNs? Is this going to be another increase in local peoples hospital bills? This is nothing but a competition with local hospitals at the expense of current employees and future patients. You people have patients thinking that LPNS are incompetent bafoons who know nothing and that is not the case. You should be ashamed. What some people will do for job security is pathetic. I have worked with both RNs and LPNs and both are exceptional in there own capacity. And both serve a strong purpose as a TEAM. Shame on GFH for allowing this to happen.
  5. always thinking
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    always thinking - October 27, 2011 4:26 pm
    It's bad enough now that we have to settle for a PA when we pay to see a doctor, can you imagine what it will be like to pay a RN to do the jobs of a LPN. The insurance companies will really go out of business then.
  6. Frustratedone2
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    Frustratedone2 - October 27, 2011 1:12 pm
    Do you know how many new nurses are already saying what did I ever get into this for? They are seeing what goes on in this field. The long hours , working over time.The RN's rely on us now for most of the bedside care, while they do their computer work. What happens when we are gone? Added stress for them, less time spent with patients. But that is ok because they will be a magnet hospital and that is what matters.
  7. justmy2cents4U
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    justmy2cents4U - October 27, 2011 1:11 pm
    So are the RNs going to empty the bedpans now?
  8. Frustratedone2
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    Frustratedone2 - October 27, 2011 8:07 am
    The only reason why GFH is getting rid of LPN's is because they want to become a magnet hospital, so they can make more money. They tell us it is what the patients want. From what I have heard from my patients this is not what they want, not have they ever been asked. LPN's do much more than pass meds and do treatments. Let me ask the public would you rather have an LPN with years of experience or a brand new RN grade with only her education and little or no hands on experience taking care of you or your loved one. Don't let them sugar coat this, it is all about money, when we said to them if you want a more experienced staff then why not have RN and LPN teams and eliminate aides which most have only a high school or GED education, the answer was it is not cost effective, so there you go COST is what they are thinking about not their patients. What they are doing is not fair , they are taking away our jobs forcing us to take lower positions as aides. So our education is now useless.
  9. always thinking
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    always thinking - October 27, 2011 7:02 am
    Why would you pay an RN to do what an LPN can do? You wouldn't. I think this is a very bad move on the part of the hospital and I see another nursing shortage coming down the road because it will be a job that no one will want again.
  10. retired
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    retired - October 26, 2011 10:06 pm
    I hope that they are planning on pay raises for the registered nurses since their workload will be ever increasing, as should their wages.
  11. Doubter_2
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    Doubter_2 - October 26, 2011 9:41 pm
    Are there that many unemployed RN's available? I see the potential for a shortage in coverage. Hopefully I am wrong!
  12. mapmakerny
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    mapmakerny - October 26, 2011 7:16 pm
    As an LPN, I see this as a another way to drive salaries down for all nurses, both LPN and RN. For LPNs to continue to work as nurses in the hospital setting, they will have to pay for a two year education, costing close to $10,000 dollars. Meanwhile, RN salaries will go down because they will not be funding available for the increased salary costs to the hospital.

    Nurses are already asked to do way too much as it is, with increased patient loads, mandatory overtime, and more expensive benefit costs. This is a slap in the face from Glens Falls Hospital.

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