Barriers and Facilitators for the LPN-to-RN Transition: Perspectives From Practicing LPNs

Authors: Cheryl Jones, PhD, RN, FAAN | Mark Toles, PhD, RN | Anna Song Beeber, PhD, RN, FAAN | Meriel McCollum, RN, BSN | Madeline Neal, BS

Topics: Education and Training, Nursing, Staffing

Research Center: Carolina Health Workforce Research Center

October 2, 2017

A 2015 Institute of Medicine report indicated that there is much work needed to both build educational capacity and increase diversity in the registered nurse (RN) workforce. There are also reports suggesting that approximately 33% of RNs will exit the workforce by 2022, as baby boomer nurses retire. Approximately 730,000 licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are currently working in the United States, with a larger proportion of them from underrepresented minorities compared to RNs. Promoting educational transitions for LPNs to become RNs is one approach that can both expand the supply of RNs and enhance the diversity to the workforce.

This policy brief presents evidence needed to aid policymakers in developing and targeting incentives that support LPN-to-RN transitions.

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