Why Northwestern is reintroducing LPNs to inpatient care

Chicago-based Northwestern Medicine is tapping licensed practical nurses to ease staffing shortages as part of a new pilot program at one of its hospitals, the Daily Herald reported Aug. 7. 

Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva, Ill., has seen an increase in vacancies for patient care support roles, as nursing students often fill these roles temporarily before moving on to registered nurse roles.

"We needed to look for a more permanent solution to fill that important work," Gina Reid Tinio, PhD, chief nurse executive at Delnor Hospital, told the Daily Herald. "We're exploring if reintroducing the LPN to the inpatient care team can help us fill those gaps so that we can continue to optimally meet our patients' needs."

The hospital is opening its labor pool to LPNs, who typically work in nursing and long-term care facilities, in the hope they will give nurses more support by performing tasks patient care technicians aren't trained to do. If the pilot is successful, Northwestern may expand the staffing strategy to other facilities. 

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