Set to break the 20 million resident mark in 2016, the state of Florida offers opportunities for both the talented and hardworking. Major subsectors of health care and social assistance include offices of physicians, dentists, outpatient care centers, medical and diagnostic laboratories, home health care services and other ambulatory services.
Southern Technical College
University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences
Florida’s Healthcare Industry
Florida’s health care industry sector had 41,634 establishments in 2008 with employment of 696,416. In the health care industry, the occupations with the most employment in 2008 were: registered nurses, medical assistants, nursing aides, orderlies and attendants. LPNs or licensed practical nurses are another important subset of the healthcare sector in Florida. The Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS) predicts a 20% increase in Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) jobs per year by 2020. To become an LPN, students need to complete state approved training programs and obtain a license as well.
Job Responsibilities of LPNs
LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses) are healthcare workers who provide basic medical care. They work under the supervision of registered nurses and other healthcare professionals and monitor patients’ health, administer basic patient care and provide for the basic comfort of patients. Besides, they are also responsible for reporting patients’ status to registered nurses and doctors and keeping records on patients’ health. LPNs also learn how to feed infants, how to care for the sick, collect samples for testing and perform routine laboratory tests.
LPN Programs in Florida
The state of Florida supports the nursing community through educational programs that train individuals to take up nursing responsibilities. Those who wish to pursue careers as LPNs can pursue LPN programs being offered at a number of community and vocational schools and nursing colleges in Florida. Attending a nursing program approved by the Florida Board of Nursing is the first step to becoming an LPN in Florida.
Students get an opportunity to learning the basics of nursing and develop skills essential for LPNs. Clinical experiences is also an important constituent of the LPN programs where students get an opportunity to gain practical experience.
What are the admissions prerequisites?
Students who wish to enroll in a LPN program in Florida must:
Hold a high school diploma or GED
Have a valid certification as a certified nurse assistant
Complete course prerequisites, such as biology or in a related medical science
Students may also have to meet other requirements that may vary by school.
What courses will you study?
LPN programs provide instruction in a number of topics, enabling students to become familiar with the essential aspects of healthcare and nursing practices. Some of the courses students can take are:
Structure & function of human body
Legal and ethical nursing issues
Diet and nutrition
Upon graduation, LPN students will be able to:
Work with team members and patients to improve delivery of health care
Provide safe nursing care in a number of healthcare settings
Make use of information technology to support and communicate the planning of patient care
Provide nursing care to different populations
Career Outlook for LPNs in Florida
An increasing need for healthcare services, coupled with the national shortage of qualified workers is likely to fuel the demand for healthcare professionals across the state of Florida. The requirement for healthcare employees covers a wide range of fields including hospital and medical office administration and patient care. There will be more job opportunities in healthcare in Central Florida. According to Central Florida Health News, healthcare services is one of six target industries promoted by the Central Florida Development Council, which means that more service providers and medical device manufacturers are expected here in the future. The Central Florida Health News reported that as more baby boomers retire in the region and more people are insured, demand is expected to remain high for physicians, nurses, physical therapists and pharmacists.
Potential Workplaces for LPNs in Florida
LPNs typically work in the following settings:
Nursing care facilities
Offices of physicians
Home health care services
Residential care facilities
According to the Florida Center for Nursing, the top four employing 78% of LPN’s are long-term care, home health care, health provider offices, and hospitals.
How much LPNs in Florida make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for LPNs in Florida was $41,300 in 2013.
Financial Aid for Nursing Students in Florida
Florida nursing students pursuing LPN programs can apply for financial aid in order to finance their educational expenses. Funds are available in the form of federal loans such as Stafford and Perkins as well as work study opportunities. Federal, state as well as institutional awards allow eligible students to get financing for their nursing education. Students can also apply for grants and scholarships to pursue an LPN program. Some other financial aid programs nursing students can apply for are:
Florida Student Assistance Grant
Florida Resident Access Grant
Student Loan Forgiveness
Nursing Scholarship Program
American Indian Students United for Nursing
National Association of Hispanic Nurses Scholarship
LPNs who wish to become registered nurses (RNs) can pursue a nursing diploma, an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Florida is among the top five states in terms of nursing employment, with approximately 158,390 RNs employed statewide as of May 2010 (BLS). BLS projections indicate that job opportunities for RNs will be excellent over the next few years, with employment levels expected to increase by 22% nationwide from 2008 through 2018.