Duties Of A Licensed Practicing Nurse Essay Paper

Duties Of A Licensed Practicing Nurse Essay Paper

Licenced Practice Nurses are employed in many areas within the healthcare industry. Being a nurse is a profession with a high level of responsibility. Within the healthcare profession, doctors do not have much time to spend with each patient, and certainly their duties do not extend as far as basic care. However, nurses are present around the clock as the faces of the care environment. Licenced Practice Nurses, or LPNs, work in shifts to ensure that people in need of healthcare are never alone. The duties of an LPN ranges from basic care, to administering medication, to being a source of support for patients and their families. While LPNs are not as qualified as Registered Nurses, they provide an equally vital service to the healthcare industry. Duties Of A Licensed Practicing Nurse Essay Paper
Licenced Practice Nurses differ from Registered Nurses in several ways; their training and qualification level is one major difference. Generally, LPNs train for one year, whereas RNs train for either two years or four years, depending on their previous qualifications. It is understandable and expected, therefore, that LPNs have less responsibility than RNs and are lower in the professional hierarchy (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011).
Like RNs, once trained, the job prospects for an LPN are good. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011), “Replacement needs will be a major source of job openings, as many workers leave the occupation permanently”.
Generally speaking, LPNs cannot do as much, medically, as RNs. RNs can put together care plans, administer more medications and can also carry out more procedures (Difference Between, 2011). However, LPNs are vital to the healthcare system as they are the people to be around the patients every day, at all times of day and night. Furthermore, they closely observe and monitor patients, and report back to doctors and nursing supervisors regularly. This is an essential role as without the nurses doing this, much relevant and vital information about patients would be unlikely to ever reach the doctors. LPNs are directly in contact with their patients, in an entirely ‘hands on’ way. LPNs monitor the vital signs of their patients, on a daily basis, and noticing where there are changes from day to day. This monitoring is essential in helping doctors to correctly diagnose and treat the patients (LPN Duties, 2011).
When patients are first admitted to hospital, they have to go through routine tests and checks. An LPN will do all of the basic checks, such as height, weight, blood pressure etc. If there are more detailed tests to be done then an LPN will prepare the patient by speaking to them about what is going to happen and what to expect, dressing them and preparing them physically, and also by administering any pre-medications that are required. Furthermore, following the procedure, an LPN will care for the patient again, including making them conformable on the ward and ensuring that all of their needs are met. Once initial checks and assessments have been carried out, the RNs and the doctors put together a care plan for the patient. A major part of a care plan in a hospital patient is their medication. Duties Of A Licensed Practicing Nurse Essay Paper
As most hospital patients are on medication, a big part of an LPN’s job is to be responsible for monitoring and recording medications, and ensuring that they are taken correctly, including meds are brought out at exact times and in the correct dosage. Without this intervention, many patients would be likely to forget to take vital medications, as doctors do not have the time to individually check with each patient on medication. While it is generally the job of RNs to give intial medications, and invasive ones, LPNs will be responsible for bringing out the medications thereafter, and supervising the patients while they take them.
LPNs are employed in all departments of a hospital. However, the nature of the nurse’s role will vary depending on which department they work in. For example, in most accident and emergency departments, there are many patients suffering from injury. The departments are often filled with stressed people and the tension levels are high for all concerned. Doctors within the emergency room are needed to deal with badly injured patients and, therefore, it is the job of the LPNs to attend to the more simple problems. This both saves time for the doctors and means that the patients are seen more quickly, relieving stress of the patients, their families, and the staff in the department. According to the LPN Duties website (2011), “Cleaning wounds, giving simple injections, applying dressings and bandages, changing dressings and assisting in suture placements are all duties assigned to an LPN” (LPN Duties, 2011). Duties Of A Licensed Practicing Nurse Essay Paper


Patients who have an IV drip need a great deal of attention and monitoring. This is a task for the LPN, who has to monitor the drip, change bags and record every detail about such changes. RNs will usually set up the IV drips but, after the initial procedure, LPNS will take over the general maintenance of them. Also, the LPN Duties website states that, “LPNs may also have to change catheters, naso-gastric tubes, epidural infusions, perform tracheotomy care, fluid bags, and oxygen supplies” (LPN Duties, 2011).
Across all departments within the hospital setting, LPNs tend to be assigned to tasks concerning patient hygiene. Bathing and toileting are daily duties, along with the changing of bedding and clothing of the patients. Also among their routine tasks are all aspects of feeding patients who cannot feed themselves, and ensuring that all patients have drinking water available, at all times of day and night.
A valuable, but often underestimated, part of LPN duties is working with patients who are in a great deal of pain and are depressed. A key role of the LPN is offering support to upset, depressed and stressed patients. Helping patients to come to terms with their illness is a major duty for the LPN (Student Doc, 2011). Often, RNs have to prioritise the strictly medical side of their job, so the emotional support aspects tends to reside with LPNs. As this is the case, it is essential that LPNs are caring, friendly and genuinely compassionate. Helping patients and their families to deal with their illness is more important than it is often given credit for. People in hospitals frequently experience many strong emotions such as upset, anger and guilt, to name just a few, and such people look to nurses for support and to give them the attention they need. This task can be time consuming, but should never be ignored or forgotten. Duties Of A Licensed Practicing Nurse Essay Paper
Overall, Licenced Practiced Nurses are given the responsibility for caring for patients, but they work under supervision of a Registered Nurse or of a doctor. The duties of an LPN are vast, and can be hard. From bathing patients to comforting family members, LPNs have to be in good working form at all times. LPNs are only human, and they too have personal lives and troubles. However, when they come to work they have to leave their own personal problems aside and hand themselves over to their patients. As an LPN will often work on a rota, spending forty hours a week at the hospital, this can be a difficult task.
As LPNs are not as highly qualified as RNs, their salary is also lower. LPNs do a vital job and work many hours, for a modest wage. This element of the profession means that LPNs have to be even more committed to their duties and, more importantly, they need to enjoy it.
Licenced Practice Nurses are crucial to the healthcare industry, and to society. Without them, the standard of patient care in America would not be as high as it is. LPNs work hard to ensure that each patient’s stay in hospital is as comfortable as possible, and they do this around the clock. By liaising with other members of the healthcare team, LPNs contribute to the holistic care and treatment of the patient, and to their overall experience in the healthcare setting. As the salary of these important nurses is not high, and the work is hard, the love of the job is what keeps them providing this wonderful service.


Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2011). Licenced Practical and Licenced Vocational Nurses.
Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos102.htm
LPN Duties. (2011). The Duties of a Licenced Practical Nurse. Retrieved from
Difference Between. (2011). Difference Between LPN and RN. Retrieved from

Student Net. (2011). Nursing Job Descriptions. Retrieved from
http://www.studentdoc.com/nursing-job-description.html.Duties Of A Licensed Practicing Nurse Essay Paper