Kaiser Hospitals Shifting Makeup of Nurse Work Force
Earlier this month, Kaiser Permanente notified about 280 licensed vocational nurses working in its Northern California hospitals that they will be redeployed or offered buyouts and be replaced by registered nurses, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The agreement was reached in September between Kaiser and United Healthcare Workers West, the labor union representing LVNs.
Sandy Sharon, assistant administrator for patient care services at Kaiser's Roseville Medical Center, said the hospitals are recruiting registered nurses to replace LVNs who work on floors where patients are hospitalized.
LVNs who work in the emergency department, local outpatient clinics, and operating and recovery rooms are not being redeployed.
Affected nurses at Kaiser facilities in Sacramento and Roseville were given three options:
- Accept a severance package;
- Enter a Kaiser-funded training program toward a registered nursing degree or similar specialty; or
- Apply for an LVN job in a non-hospital Kaiser facility.
All of the work force changes will be complete by early 2008.
The shift toward hiring more registered nurses reflects a trend among acute care hospitals, especially in California, where state laws provide a limited role for LVNs.
Joanne Spetz, a UC-San Francisco professor and nursing work force expert, said LVNs' skills are more appropriate in home care or nursing homes than in acute care settings, which have become more intensive as hospital stays have shortened (Griffith, Sacramento Bee, 10/11).