NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — Starting October 11 the nurse who comes to your bedside at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital will be a registered nurse only.
It’s a change the hospital says is following a national trend. The 21 Licensed practical nurses at L&M will soon be taking on a new role for now.
“This is not a Connecticut thing,” said Michael O’Farrell, the spokesperson for Lawrence & Memorial Hospital. “It’s not an L&M thing, this is a national thing and we’re going through that process.”
Instead of working with patients on medical floors, LPNs will be working with them in the pharmacy.
“It’s a refocus, in one essence to improve patient care directly at the bedside with the RN, but also to utilize this new position to help those patients better understand their medication,” said O’Farrell.
After two years, those medical reconciliation positions will end as the use of electronic medical records improves. The end of an era for the licensed practical nurses, but one the union president says comes as an agreement is made to keep their same pay and benefits through September 30, 2017.
“Because we are united and have a strong voice, we negotiated a far better outcome than cuts to vital services or layoffs of caregivers,” said Stephanie Johnson in a statement.
As part of the deal, the LPNs will be given added opportunity to further their education to possibly become a registered nurse or take on another position at the hospital. If they choose to stay, they could get increased tuition reimbursement. If they chose to leave, they’ll get a continuation of their salary or medical benefits.
“If somebody doesn’t want to go into that position, then we’ve given two options to have a soft landing if they decide to leave the organization,” said O’Farrell.
Because LPNs are now moving away from the bedside care, the New London hospital is looking to hire more RN’s to fill those gaps.