Licensed practical nurses find rewarding work in any number of industries—from large hospital or clinical settings to corporate offices that maintain healthcare staffing. While many of these organizations are for-profit entities focused primarily on making money, many organizations that also employ LPNs are nonprofits—charitable organizations focused on making improvements for the common good. For many LPNs, they’ve found that nonprofit careers spent working for the common good are good for them too. Here’s a bit of basic information on nonprofits and a few good reasons to consider making a nonprofit your nursing career choice.
What Nonprofit Means
The term nonprofit simply means that it’s a group that is organized for purposes other than generating profit. The key qualification is that it distributes no part of its income or net earnings to its members, directors or officers, but a few other conditions apply.
- A nonprofit must be declared a nonprofit at its creation.
- Nonprofits are organized under state law.
- The nonprofit’s mission must conform to statutes governing nonprofit organizations.
- Nonprofits can take any number of forms—corporations, foundations, associations and even individual enterprises, for example. Common examples of nonprofits include schools, churches, public charities, professional organizations, public hospitals and clinics, and governmental agencies. The U.S. tax code recognizes more than 30 different types of tax-exempt organizations.
Most organizations who qualify proudly state that they’re a nonprofit and indicate their tax-exempt status registered with the Internal Revenue Service—often 501(c)3, for example.
Reasons To Choose Nonprofit Careers in Nursing
Many nurses thrive working in the nonprofit sector. When you ask them what they enjoy about it—the best things about working for a nonprofit organization—they have many different responses. Some are reasons why they decided to try working or even volunteering for a nonprofit in the first place, but many are why these individuals commit to staying and even making lifelong careers dedicated to the greater good.
1. Patient caseloads are lighter at nonprofits, so outcomes are often better.
Nonprofit nursing facilities are noted for having lower patient-to-nurse ratios than larger, for-profit facilities. That means that since nurses are responsible for fewer patients at a nonprofit, they can devote more time to each patient and provide an optimal quality of care.
One of the first actions a for-profit nursing home entity often initiates if it takes over a nonprofit or not-for-profit nursing home organization is to reduce staff and raise patient-to-nurse ratios.
A recent study initiated at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth looked at the issue. It was titled “Does Nonprofit Ownership Matter for Firm Performance? Financial Distress and Ownership Conversion of Nursing Homes.” The authors analyzed a nationwide panel dataset of U.S. nursing homes from 2006 to 2017 and identified a number of concerns.
- When a facility became for-profit, “operating margins increased significantly.”
- The increased margins were the direct result of reduced operating costs—specifically, aggressive cuts in nursing staff and overhead staffing.
- Cuts in nursing staff severely impacted quality of care.
Interestingly, the study also highlighted another beneficial trait of nonprofits—fewer managerial levels or other separations between those directing the work and those doing the work. Cutting overhead staffing and streamlining work had no impact on quality of care, but it did improve margins. For nonprofits, that often means more resources to hire the nursing staff they really need to help the patients they’re committed to serving.
2. Nurse scheduling is often more consistent and predictable at nonprofits.
Since patient-to-nurse ratios are usually lower at nonprofits, scheduling is often less problematic. Having enough nurses with the needed skill levels is key for being able to match nurses’ skill sets appropriately to patients’ needs while avoiding issues like shift conflicts, irregular shifts and excessive overtime.
Predictable scheduling means that nurses are able to balance work life and home or family life. Consistency in scheduling means that nurses can actually develop routines, fully engage with patients and observe the results of quality care.
3. The work environment is more relaxed.
A study published in The Gerontologist titled “Nursing Practice Environment and Registered Nurses’ Job Satisfaction in Nursing Homes” found that nurses working in nonprofit facilities were significantly more satisfied with their working conditions than those working for for-profit facilities. The study looked at the responses of 862 registered nurses working in 282 skilled nursing facilities. Three key components contributed most to their satisfaction: having supportive managers, having adequate resources and being able to have a say in policy setting.
Registered nurse or licensed practical nurse, we all can appreciate a relaxed work environment where managers are supportive, we have the resources that we need, and our suggestions and recommendations are valued. Researchers have found that those qualities are more likely to be found at a nonprofit.
4. The work itself focuses on making a difference.
Nonprofits are governed by their mission. Their whole existence is centered on their mission or charter and how to accomplish it. Fundraising is important, but it’s the means for accomplishing a mission undertaking that is usually bound by respected requirements and standards of care or performance. Often, the mission matches a need that may yield very little to no money at all when treated or addressed. The goal is to make the world a better place in some way.
In contrast, for-profits are governed by the bottom financial line. Their mission is to make money by offering services that ensure a healthy profit margin. For-profit healthcare providers and hospitals are often fast-paced workplaces that usually strive for size and often concentrate on more costly procedures and high-visibility specialties that will be profitable.
The Arc of Acadiana is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our career program for licensed practical nurses ticks all of the boxes for why you would want to spend your nursing career with us.
- We keep client-to-nurse ratios low and caseloads light so that you have the time you need to provide quality care to patients in both in-home settings and group homes.
- Our LPNs have the option of working full-time, part-time or on an as-needed basis. You can even maintain a set schedule. Many of our LPNs do.
- We offer a relaxed work environment built on calm teamwork, professional training and an open flow of communication.
- Our work makes a difference in our patients’ quality of life. Our efforts ensure that they can have their best happy, and healthy life as they learn to manage their intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In addition to competitive pay and bonuses, The Arc of Acadiana offers eligible members of our team paid time off, major medical insurance, supplemental insurance benefits, a 401(k) plan, workers’ compensation and tuition reimbursement benefits. It’s all just one more reason to consider nonprofit careers—the personal, tangible benefits.
If you’ve been debating where to take your licensed practical nursing skills, you may want to consider a nonprofit like The Arc of Acadiana. Apply online today, and start working with us toward the common good.