Overview of Louisiana Nursing Needs
Louisiana’s tapestry is a complex pattern formed of distinct cultures such as Cajuns, Creoles, the Isleños, as well as the trademark cuisines, arts and rituals inherent to each. From the great celebration of Mardi Gras to the destruction of Hurricane Katrina and the deadly storms that followed, The Bayou State continues on as it rebuilds itself.
Tourism and seafood are both major sources of economic income and continue to show improvement. State and federal government aid has also helped spur growth by encouraging new home and business-owners to consider Louisiana. The film industry is also experiencing a local boom, which then has a trickle-down effect on local businesses.
However, in terms of nursing education, the state must contend with unique challenges. Louisiana offers 42 nursing programs. However, according to a Louisiana Board of Nursing report, some qualified applicants may be turned away because of lack of funding and because there aren’t enough professors to keep up with student demand. Louisiana’s current economic landscape may require students to have more than a few schools as backup options, but this could be very good news for advanced nurses who are also educators.
Job Outlook for LA Nurses
Like the rest of the country, Louisiana desperately needs qualified health care personnel, and some hospitals may even offer financial incentives to sign on and stay. Federal government studies predict a 26% rise in RN jobs throughout the country and 22% for LPNs.
Students should note that there is a national trend of states looking to the Institute of Medicine’s “Future of Nursing” report for guidance; if Louisiana follows suit then RNs with Baccalaureate degrees and higher will be attractive to employers. However, Louisiana does offer good news for Licensed Practical Nurses, as this state has the highest concentration of LPN jobs in the country.
Job options will also vary depending on where one pursues a career and the qualifications of each individual. For instance, RNs versed in critical care or other specialties could be very valuable in city hospitals focusing on emergency assistance. Nurse Practitioners with midwifing experience, or ones who are able to prescribe medicines, would offer great assistance in less populated parishes. And if thinking of staying in Louisiana after graduation don’t forget to consider teaching!
Average Nursing Salaries in Louisiana:
|Data from BLS 2011||10th Percentile||25th Percentile||50th Percentile|
|Licensed Practical Nurses||$28,260||$32,530||$37,070|
|Home Health Aides||$16,050||$17,090||$18,840|
Licensing for Nurses in Louisiana
Louisiana is not currently part of the multistate Nurse Licensure Compact, so to legally practice in Louisiana all nurses must be licensed in the state. To become licensed, all nurses (LPNs, RNs, APRNs) must pass their individual National Council Licensure Examination (NLC). If a nurse is licensed in another state and is in good standing then they may pursue trying to gain a Louisiana license by endorsement. In addition to maintaining proper licensing, an Advanced Nurse (Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Certified Nurse Anesthetist and Certified Nurse Midwife) must also take any board-issued certification courses specific to their field. Information for all nurses seeking Louisiana licensure should refer to the Louisiana State Board of Nursing (LSBN) for all necessary information.
Nursing Programs in Louisiana
The state’s nursing shortage is made more challenging by a shortage of qualified instructors. Still, Louisiana offers 42 schools that can offer both introductory and advanced nursing degrees, on up to the Doctoral level. LPNs can study to become RNs at a number of schools such as Delgado Community College and Louisiana Tech; RNs can advance to BSNs and higher at both brick-and-mortar campuses and also online through programs offered by Loyola University William Carey University, and more. Advanced and specialized degrees can be gained by institutions such as Grambling, which offers MSN degrees in Nursing Education, as well as Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Anesthesia programs, and much more.
When seeking a nursing education in any state, many factors should be weighed when choosing a school. In addition to looking at school size, location and costs, it’s also important to consider student/faculty ratios, NCLEX pass rates of graduates, financial assistance opportunities (if any), and what clinic/hospital alliances each school maintains. When advancing one’s education with specific career goals in mind it is wise to weigh both short-term benefits and long-range aspirations to decide which program will suit best.