Pennsylvania Facing a Nursing Shortage

By Ali Ingersoll

Published 06/12 2014 11:24PM

Updated 06/13 2014 12:04AM

As baby boomers start to age, the need for nurses is growing. According to the Health Resources and Service Administration, the United State will face a 20% shortage of nurses in 2015.  The Pennsylvania Center for Health Careers predicts that number will be even higher in PA. 

Many hospitals are phasing out using Licensed Practical Nurses and are hiring Registered Nurses instead. Even with that happening, the need for practical nurses is growing and right now, there aren't enough.

"They're an integral part because they're really the direct care at the bedside," says Alicia Lentz, the secretary for the Pennsylvania Association of Practical Nursing Administrators.

Lentz says the nurse's role is changing; practical nurses are being taken out of the hospital and are working at a more personal level with people.

"Children that have trach or respirators or things, still go to school and often times, it's a nurse that is one-on-one with them," say Lentz.  "A lot of school districts are hiring practical nurses to be with their special needs children."

The personal connection and growing need for nurses is why Jeffrey Johnson decided to go to school to become a L.P.N.

"This area has experienced a lot of loss for men with manufacturing going down and the construction industry going down," says Johnson, who is in his 9th month of the yearlong program.  "[Practical nursing] It just seemed very attractive."

Johnson says he was aware of the changing nursing industry when he began his schooling and he is excited to see where this new career takes him.

"There will always be a need for the L.P.N."

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