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UMMC makes changes to eight nursing staff positions

In an effort to better match patient care training with patient needs, UMMC recently eliminated eight licensed nurse practitioner positions in one department, but most of the people in those positions still have jobs, said Colleen Flynn, spokeswoman for UMMC.

Four part-time LPNs -- employees working no more than 20 hours a week -- were offered positions elsewhere in the hospital, Flynn said. Two accepted, one decided to go back to school and Flynn hasn't heard yet what the fourth LPN decided to do.

The four per diem positions -- LPNs who filled in for vacations or to shore up other staffing shortfalls -- in the medical surgical floor unit were eliminated but these nurses were given the opportunity to train for new per diem positions with the hospital.

Three were retirees who elected to stay retired, Flynn said, and the fourth will continue to work on a per diem basis for UMMC.

"We separated the positions to better match up skill sets for staffing reasons," Flynn said. "In most cases, hospitals no longer utilize LPNs in acute-care settings, but we still need them in other places. The scope of the practice and licensure determines what they can do for a patient."

In modern health care, patients are not as routinely hospitalized as in the past, so when patients arrive at UMMC now, Flynn said, their needs are much more acute.

"To be a hospitalized patient these days, you have to be very sick," Flynn said. "Because the acuity of patients there are more demands for patient care, so that’s why we decided just to use registered nurses (in that department)."

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