Hiring pool expanded for county jail nursing position

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 | 7:32 p.m. CDT; updated 9:46 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

COLUMBIA — The Boone Hospital Center Board of Trustees on Monday approved Boone County Sheriff Dwayne Carey’s request to open the Boone County Jail’s hospital-funded nursing position to licensed practical nurses. Previously only registered nurses were able to apply.

Capt. Warren Brewer, the administrator at the county jail, said Columbia’s competitive nursing market and the challenges of working in a jail environment make it difficult for the jail to attract registered nurses. He said Carey was looking for more hiring flexibility.

The difference between registered nurses, or RNs, and licensed practical nurses, or LPNs, is that LPNs must be supervised by a registered nurse or doctor, said Glenda Nickell, a professor at MU’s Sinclair School of Nursing. RNs do not need supervision for nursing duties. Nickell also said LPNs typically perform practical tasks, while RNs formulate nursing care plans and assess patients.

The hospital funds the two-year position at the jail for up to $75,000 a year.

There are two nursing positions open at the jail: one three-quarter time position paid for by Boone County and a full-time position funded by Boone Hospital Center, Brewer said.

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