Aging population increases demand for LPNs

(Democrat and Chronicle) Karla Drain sees her new job as a licensed practical nurse as a steppingstone to a career as a registered nurse, something that has been in the back of her mind for years.

After watching nurses care for loved ones in the past, Drain, 34, knew it was the job for her.

“You have to like people. You have to have that caring quality,” she said.

“I guess if you don’t like people and you don’t want to be around people, this is definitely not the field for that. You just have to have compassion and empathy, be a good listener. That’s what nurses do a lot, is listen,” she added.

Besides her desire to be a comfort to the sick, Drain also had a very practical reason for entering the field.

“I wanted job security,” said Drain, of Greece.

As the population in the United States ages, the need for LPNs and health care workers in general will increase. More LPNs will be needed in hospitals, doctors’ offices, nursing homes and assisted-living centers. In addition, many LPNs are expected to retire in the next 10 years, creating excellent job prospects for new workers in the field.

Before becoming an LPN, Drain spent about 15 years working in retail and another five working in customer service at Bausch + Lomb Inc.

She is married and has two children, a 6-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son.

“They were old enough, so I just decided it was time to go back to school,” she said.

In July, she completed a 10-month program at the Isabella Graham Hart School of Practical Nursing at Rochester General Hospital. She started working in August at White Pines Medical Group in Rochester.

“I love it. I’m very busy, which I like. I don’t even pay attention to the clock. The day flies by,” she said.

Every day she takes on new challenges and meets new people and helps them.

“I feel like this was what I was supposed to be doing all along,” said Drain.

After she has six months on the job, Drain plans to take advantage of a tuition assistance program offered by her employer to become a registered nurse.