Minnesota Licensed Practical Nurses Facts and Data 2006

The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care asks Licensed Practical Nurses to answer questions about their employment status and the nature of their practices each year when they renew their licenses. Response to the survey is voluntary and does not affect license renewal.


Urban-Rural Definitions

Old definitions. Nursing workforce data has previously been reported for “urban” and “rural” portions of the state. Urban has been defined to include seven Twin Cities metropolitan counties (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington) and the cities of Duluth, Rochester and St. Cloud.

New definitions. For the first time, data is also reported for three groupings that focuses greater attention on the 46 most rural counties:

  • Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) counties – 21 Minnesota counties included in seven metropolitan statistical areas (Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Cloud, Rochester, Duluth-Superior, Fargo, Grand Forks and La Crosse)
  • Micropolitan counties – 20 counties surrounding smaller urban centers of at least 10,000 people
  • Rural – 46 counties outside MSAs and Micropolitan areas

In the data tables, shading distinguishes data reported under the old urban-rural definition from data reported under the new MSA-micropolitan-rural definition.


Number of Licensed Practical Nurses

As of June 2006, Minnesota had more than 23,200 licensed practical nurses. Some of these were retired or not working as LPNs, and many lived or practiced in other states. More than 21,700 licensed LPNs had Minnesota mailing addresses.

Based on survey responses and licensing data from the Minnesota Board of Nursing, the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care (ORHPC) estimates about 17,900 LPNs were practicing at least part time at Minnesota practice sites in June 2006. For explanation of this estimate, see the methodological note at the end of this report.

Using the July 1, 2005, population estimate for Minnesota, 17,900 LPNs equate to 349 active LPNs per 100,000 people. Different data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics produces an estimate of 354 LPNs per 100,000 people, compared to a national figure of 240 in May 2005. Minnesota ranked seventh in the number of LPNs per capita.

The following data is for LPNs who worked at least part time at a primary practice site in Minnesota at the time they completed the survey.

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Geographic Distribution  

  • Unlike many health professions, LPN practice sites are disproportionately located in micropolitan and rural counties.
  • Forty-two percent of LPNs work in micropolitan or rural areas, which have only 28 percent of the state’s population.
  • Only 58 percent of LPNs work in the state’s 21 metropolitan area counties, which contain 73 percent of the state’s population.

pie chart of geographic distributin of LPNspie chart of '04 MN population

Geographic Area

% Population

% LPNs

Urban (old definition)

58.6%

46.3%

Rural (old definition)

41.4%

53.7%

 

Metropolitan counties

72.5%

57.8%

Micropolitan counties

14.7%

23.6%

Rural (new definition)

12.8%

18.6%

Population: July 1, 2005 county-level estimates by U.S. Census Bureau, except July 1, 2004 estimates for “old” urban and rural (2005 minor civil division estimates not available before late 2006).

Gender of Licensed Practical Nurses Active in Minnesota  

  • More than 96 percent of LPNs are female.
  • Male LPNs are somewhat more common in metropolitan area counties and urban areas, as well among younger age groups.
  • Overall male numbers are low and more than two-thirds of male LPNs practice in urban areas, compared to only 46 percent of female LPNs.  

 Age

Respondents

 Male

 Female

All LPNs

9,159

3.5%

96.5%

Under 35

1,687

3.8%

96.2%

35-44

2,001

4.7%

95.3%

45-54

3,030

3.8%

96.2%

55-64

2,058

2.0%

98.0%

65 and older

383

1.8%

98.2%

Urban locations

4,243

5.2%

94.8%

Rural locations

4,919

2.1%

97.9%

Metropolitan

5,051

4.6%

95.4%

Micropolitan

2,165

2.1%

97.9%

Rural

1,701

1.8%

98.2%

Age of Licensed Practical Nurses Active in Minnesota

  • Sixty percent of LPNs practicing at least part time in Minnesota are 45 or older. The median age is 48.
  • LPNs in micropolitan area counties (containing small cities like Albert Lea or Bemidji) are a bit younger than LPNs in the rest of the state. In fact, 30 percent of LPNs under age 35 work in micropolitan area counties.  

bar graph of MN LPNs by age

Age

Statewide
n = 9,159
respondents

Urban
n = 4,240
respondents

 

Rural
n = 4,919
respondents

Metropolitan
n = 5,293
respondents

Micropolitan
n = 2,165
respondents

Rural
n =1,701
respondents

Median age (July 1, 2006)

48

48

47

48

46

48

Less than 35

18.4%

15.8%

20.7%

16.6%

23.0%

18.3%

35-44

21.8%

22.5%

21.3%

22.4%

21.6%

20.5%

45-54

33.1%

33.7%

32.5%

33.6%

31.9%

33.1%

55-64

22.5%

24.2%

20.9%

23.7%

19.3%

22.6%

65 and older

4.2%

3.8%

4.6%

3.7%

4.3%

5.5%

Age as July 1, 2006, for LPNs working at Minnesota sites at time of survey; column totals may not equal 100 percent due to rounding.

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Type of practice site

  • One-third of LPNs practicing at least part time in Minnesota work in nursing homes. Another 26 percent work in clinics or provider offices, and 16 percent work in hospital-inpatient settings.
  • Forty-five percent of LPNs in the 46 most rural counties work in nursing homes.
  • Only about 31 percent of metropolitan and micropolitan LPNs work in nursing homes. In these more urban places, clinic employment is more common than in rural areas.

 Type of Work Site

Statewide

 Urban

Rural

Metropolitan

Micropolitan

Rural

Total respondents

9,162

4,243

4,919

5,296

2,165

1,701

Hospital-inpatient

16.0%

16.2%

15.8%

15.2%

17.9%

16.2%

Outpatient

2.9%

4.1%

1.9%

3.5%

2.4%

1.7%

Clinic/provider office

26.1%

28.4%

24.0%

27.2%

26.4%

21.9%

Nursing home

33.6%

27.5%

38.8%

30.9%

31.5%

44.6%

Home health agency

7.0%

7.4%

6.7%

7.6%

8.0%

4.0%

Rehabilitation facility

1.4%

2.0%

1.0%

1.9%

1.1%

.5%

School/college/univ.

2.3%

2.7%

1.9%

2.7%

1.7%

1.9%

Other

10.7%

11.7%

9.9%

11.0%

11.0%

9.2%

Primary Professional Activity of Licensed Practical Nurses

  • Eighty percent of LPNs report patient care as their primary professional activity. Another nine percent say supervision of patient care is their main activity.
  • The primary types of professional activities are very similar in urban and rural settings, with the exception that a larger share of rural nurses have supervision as their primary activity.

Note: This data reflects the number of respondents who reported each kind of work as their primary activity. Beginning in the 2006-08 survey cycle, LPNs will be asked what percentage of time they spend in each of these activities. This new question will give a better indication of the typical mix of duties for individual LPNs.

Activity

All LPNs

Urban

Rural (old)

Metropolitan

Micropolitan

Rural (new)

Patient care

80.3%

80.1%

80.5%

79.8%

82.8%

78.9%

Supervision of
patient care

8.8%

6.9%

10.4%

7.6%

8.5%

12.7%

Administration

1.7%

2.0%

1.5%

2.0%

1.6%

1.1%

Telephone triage

1.3%

2.0%

.8%

1.8%

.6%

.8%

Teaching

1.0%

1.0%

.9%

1.0%

.7%

1.2%

Case management

.9%

1.3%

.6%

1.1%

.6%

.6%

Insurance/utilization

.7%

1.4%

.1%

1.2%

.1%

.1%

Other

5.2%

5.3%

5.2%

5.4%

5.0%

4.8%

Column totals may not equal 100 percent due to rounding.

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Type of department/unit/area worked in a primary practice site

  • When asked about their department or unit, 41 percent of LPNs said they worked in long term or assisted care.
  • More than half of LPNs in the 46 most rural counties said they worked in long-term or assisted care.

Department/unit/area

All LPNs
n = 9,146

All Urban
n = 4,241

All Rural
n = 4,905

All Metropolitan n = 5,291

All Micropolitan
n = 2,161

All Rural (new)
n = 1,694

Long term/Assisted care

41.0%

34.0%

47.1%

37.8%

39.1%

53.5%

Medical/Surgery

14.0%

14.1%

13.9%

13.3%

13.9%

16.3%

Home care

7.6%

7.3%

7.8%

7.7%

9.0%

5.4%

Psychiatric/Behavioral

4.4%

5.0%

3.9%

4.4%

3.4%

1.2%

Obstetric/Gynecologic

3.4%

5.0%

2.1%

4.3%

.6%

.9%

School health services

2.2%

2.6%

1.9%

2.5%

1.6%

1.9%

Operating room/Recovery

1.3%

1.1%

1.4%

1.0%

1.8%

1.5%

Public health

1.1%

1.0%

1.1%

1.1%

.7%

1.4%

Other*

25.0%

30.1%

20.7%

23.7%

23.7%

17.7%

* “Other” includes very small numbers of LPNs working in intensive care, emergency room and research areas, as well as a large number of unclassified responses. The number of unclassified responses was particularly high among urban respondents (including the Twin Cities , Duluth , Rochester and Duluth). This may reflect significant numbers of LPNs working in specialized settings that they had difficulty matching with the choices they were given.

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Type or department/unit/area - hospital/in-patient facilities only

  • Half of LPNs working in hospitals work in medical or surgical units.
  • Thirteen percent work in psychiatric or behavioral medicine units.

Department/unit/area

Statewide n = 1,467

Medical/Surgery

50.8%

Psychiatric/Behavioral

12.6%

Obstetric/Gynecologic

8.4%

Long-term/Assisted care

5.7%

Operating room/Recovery

4.1%

Emergency

2.4%

Intensive care

1.0%

Home care

.8%

Other*

14.2%

* Other includes a very small number LPNs working in research, as well as a large number of unclassified responses. Many of these unclassified responses may properly be categorized as specialized medical or surgical units.  

Note: In the 2006-08 survey, this question has been revised and is being asked only of nurses who work in a hospital setting. Data is presented below from the 2004-06 survey for only LPNs working in hospital-inpatient settings.

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Methodological note for numbers of LPNs

Data reported here is from responses received from LPNs renewing their licenses between July 2004 and June 2006. LPN license renewals are due every two years in the licensee’s birth month. Thus, over a two-year period, all LPNs renewing licenses are asked to complete the ORHPC survey. Thus, survey data reported here is not for a point in time, but rather for a two-year period.

The Board of Nursing received 19,900 license renewals during the survey period.

The Office of Rural Health and Primary Care received survey responses from 11,900 LPNs renewing their licenses. Survey respondents represented about 60 percent of all LPNs renewing licenses. At the time of license renewal, 9,162 (77 percent) of respondents said they working at least part time at a primary practice site in Minnesota.

The exact number of LPNs actually practicing in Minnesota is not known. If survey respondents were representative of all licensed LPNs, there would be approximately 17,860 LPNs working at Minnesota sites in June 2006. Because this is only an estimate, it is appropriate to round off this number to 17,900. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development estimated there were about 19,130 licensed practical and vocational nurse jobs in Minnesota in the fourth quarter of 2005, up from an estimate of 17,150 in the fourth quarter of 2004.

Using the July 1, 2005, population estimate for Minnesota, 17,900 LPNs equate to 349 active LPNs per 100,000 people.

Because of different data sources and definitions, this estimate of 349 active LPNs per 100,000 population is not directly comparable to other reported data. The most recent national data permitting comparisons among states is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for May 2005. Minnesota had 17,850 licensed practical and vocational nurses. Using estimated 2005 population, this amounted to 354 LPNs per 100,000 population, compared to a national rate of 240.


Updated Tuesday, 16-Nov-2010 12:28:44 CST