What Is The LPN Scope Of Practice?

Written by on August 26, 2013 in Career - No comments | Print this page


nurseThe LPN scope of practice is a basic outline of what is expected of a licensed practical nurse.

To make matters even more complicated, the duties involved with this profession differ depending on the state and type of environment where the licensed practical nurse is employed.

He or she may be working under the supervision of a nurse practitioner, physician, psychologist, registered nurse, etc.

The nursing board for each state also has strict guidelines which cover what the LPN scope of practice is in each state, so it is important to look up this information in order to determine the specific rules where you are employed.

Typical Tasks Expected of an LPN

The LPN scope of practice will also depend largely upon the individual. One with significant skills and training will obviously be given a workload with greater importance and responsibility involved.

It goes without saying that a nurse who has been employed in the field for a longer period of time would be entrusted with tasks that require advanced skills and experience.

If you are an individual who is not being given these tasks while your coworkers are, it may be in your best interest to receive advanced training in these areas so you can eventually increase your LPN scope of practice.

Regardless of your level of experience, your main tasks as a licensed practical nurse will include direct care of patients, typically under the guidance of a qualified professional physician or registered nurse.

In most cases these individuals will diagnose conditions of the patients and prescribe certain treatments which it will be your responsibility to administer. It will also be part of your LPN scope of practice to observe the communication between the physician and the patients, acting as a go between when necessary.

The following is a typical list of tasks required within the LPN scope of practice:

• Implement the prescribed plan of care
• Perform duties as ordered
• Provide bedside care
• Change or recommend changes to plan when necessary
• Assist to needs of patients and report to supervisor
• Administer prescribed medications
• Manage time so all patients may be attended to promptly
• Keep patients informed of why medications and procedures are necessary
• Supervise any nurse’s aides
• Provide moral support to patents
• Follow guidelines closely so infection does not occur

Requirements for Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse

In order to become an LPN, there are certain requirements that must be met. First of all, it is necessary that you have received your high school diploma or equivalent.

In addition to this, you must have successfully completed a practical nursing program, which usually takes about a year to finish.

Before enrolling in this type of program, make sure that it has been accredited by the board of nursing in your specific state. There are some unaccredited programs out there that will simply waste your time and money.

During your studies in this class, you will not only learn textbook knowledge, as you will be given hands-on learning tasks to complete as well.

These programs can typically be found in community colleges, high schools, and vocational technical schools. Even some hospitals have accredited programs for potential nursing students.

The goal of these courses, regardless of where they are taken, is to receive the training necessary to take and pass the National Council Licensure Exam for your state.

Would you be a good candidate?

Before beginning your studies in this profession, it is important that you look into all the facets of this career to make sure that it is something that is compatible with your personality.

Keep in mind that one of the major tenants of the LPN scope of practice is to be good at working with other people. You will be working directly with sick, injured, or handicapped individuals on a daily basis and attending to them as needed during their recovery.

You also must be capable of working with the physicians and nurses who will be your superiors.

Your basic daily tasks will include responding to patients when they call, keeping track of vital signs, keeping patients fed, maintaining medical records, giving injections, changing and dressing wounds, administering medications, settings up IV’s and more.

Anne Rose is a career counselor specializing in helping students find LPN, RN and BSN related courses, jobs and colleges.


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