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Key Issues / Health Care Workforce / 2007-08 Colorado Licensed Practical Nurse Workforce Survey Findings

2007-08 Colorado Licensed Practical Nurse Workforce Survey Findings

June 1, 2009

A survey of licensed practical nurses in Colorado centering on demographics, workplace, training, salary and other related issues.

The CHI survey found that in 2006, Colorado ranked 46th among states in the per-capita employment of LPNs with 138 per 100,000 population compared to the national rate of 241 per 100,000.

The scope of practice for an LPN in Colorado is defined in the Colorado Nurse Practice Act “as that which is taught in schools of practical nursing in Colorado at this time.” Colorado currently has 26 LPN programs10 including one baccalaureate and two associate degree nursing programs with a practical nursing exit option. The 9-11 month curriculum trains LPNs to care for patients with “predictable outcomes” and perform nursing skills “with a high degree of technical expertise.” LPNs are taught to identify abnormal functions and changes in a patient's condition and to report their findings to a physician or registered nurse to do a full assessment.

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) reports that Colorado had 8,576 active licensed LPNs in FY2008. In 2008 the average earnings of Colorado’s LPN workforce were $40,870, with a mean hourly rate of $19.65.

Few LPNs were pursuing further education and most had no plans to do so.

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