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Nursing: rapid change in who does what

As noted yesterday, there has been very significant growth in the number of nurses. Moreover, Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs -- or 'LPNs' outside of Ontario) are growing three times more quickly than Registered Nurses, with 22.8% growth between 2006 and 2010 versus 7.4% growth for RNs.

While over 60% of 'LPNs' work in just two areas ("Medicine/Surgery" or in "Geriatrics/Long Term Care"), those areas have actually seen slower than average growth (11% and 14.7% between 2006-2010). Really rapid growth was in other areas.

The big areas of growth have been in "Operating Room/Recovery Room" (152.1% growth), "Emergency Care" (128.5%), "Community Health" (59%), "Maternity/Newborn" (35.2%), "Home Care" (49.1%), and "Paediatrics" (40.5%).

Registered Nurses have grown in most categories -- the exceptions are "Geriatrics/Long Term Care", "Ambulatory care" and "Occupational Health" where there was some shrinkage. Above average growth was seen in community care (29.7%), Emergency Care (15%), "Telehealth" (56.5%), "Public Health" (56.5%), and "Oncology" (20.8%).

There appears to be a very rapid change in who does what in nursing, with RPNs moving into areas where they have not been in large numbers before. Still, this has not stopped significant growth in the numbers of RNs.

RN and LPN Workforce, by Area of Responsibility, Canada


RN
RN
LPN
LPN
2006-2010
2006-2011


2010
2010
2010
2010
RN
LPN


#
%
#
%
% Change
% Change
Direct Care
Total Direct Care
235,012
87.5
78,976
97.2
7.4%
22.3%

Medicine/Surgery
44,646
16.6
13,964
17.2
4.0%
11.0%

Psychiatry/Mental Health
13,503
5.0
3,802
4.7
4.1%
11.1%

Paediatrics
7,402
2.8
951
1.2
9.8%
40.5%

Maternity/Newborn
15,010
5.6
1,037
1.3
8.6%
35.2%

Geriatrics/Long-term Care
25,591
9.5
34,977
43.1
-3.5%
14.7%

Critical Care
19,472
7.3
148
0.2
7.3%
-59.2%

Community Health
14,133
5.3
3,217
4.0
29.7%
59.0%

Ambulatory Care
6,614
2.5
1,309
1.6
-13.9%
15.5%

Home Care
7,362
2.7
1,710
2.1
3.1%
49.1%

Occupational Health
2,746
1.0
179
0.2
-6.8%
22.6%

Operating Room/Recovery Room
12,797
4.8
1,654
2.0
11.6%
152.1%

Emergency Care
17,645
6.6
1,330
1.6
15.0%
128.5%

Several Clinical Areas
8,705
3.2
5,376
6.6
-10.7%
114.8%

Oncology
3,593
1.3
167
0.2
20.8%
145.6%

Rehabilitation
4,019
1.5
2,823
3.5
4.7%
17.9%

Public Health
7,482
2.8
1,298
1.6
41.2%
23.3%

Telehealth
1,236
0.5
271
0.3
56.5%


Other Direct Care
23,056
8.6
4,763
5.9
17.9%
4.5%

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