The 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 scope of practice for an LPN 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 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.
Video: What Do LPNs Do?
Would You Be A Good LPN 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 must also be capable of working with the physicians and nurses who will be your superiors.
The LPN scope of practice and 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, and even setting up IVs in some cases.
What Are The Potential Earnings Of A Qualified Licensed Practical Nurse?
An LPN, or Licensed Practical Nurse is an important member of any medical team, and the potential earnings when qualified are very good. Many people are studying LPN online these days due to the fact that it is easier, as they can study while still maintaining their current job in order to pay for their studies.
A LPN usually works under guidance and supervision of a registered nurse and assists in the patient care. The LPN primarily focuses on the comfort of the patient. Some of the salary/potential earnings when qualified as an LPN is the fact that apart from the salary, most employers also offer healthcare benefits, retirement plans and some have savings plans too. The health of an LPN is important to the employer so they look after their staff very well, and some healthcare plans also include dental plans.
Salaries of LPNs depend on where you work and how many years experience you have and one can earn quite a decent salary today. Salaries also depend on the type of institution in which you are you are employed. Here are a few facts and figures regarding salaries for Licensed Practical Nurses in America:
- The median salary for an LPN is $40,000 annually.
- An LPN with less than one year experience can earn between $27,181 and $39,886 per annum.
- LPNs with in excess of 20 years experience can earn up to $46,549 annually.
The salary/potential earnings when qualified do differ from state to state, so it is important that you look what the average expected earning are in your state. The state that pays their Licensed Practical Nurses the most is Connecticut, which pays an average of $25.28 per hour. Idaho, on the other hand, pays the lowest rate, at an average of $14.67 per hour.
When one looks at the Licensed Practical Nursing as a career choice, then one also needs to bear in mind all the avenues open to one. The demand for LPNs is growing annually, and with an increase in the elderly population this will continue. The nursing workforce is also aging and many of the current nursing staff is nearing pensionable age so new blood is urgently needed.
Positions for Licensed Practical Nurses are opening in private practice, dental offices, medical clinics, nursing homes, homes for the aged and hospitals. LPNs are also needed for long-term care and in occupational health clinics. When looking at how many institutions really need LPNs, it is easy to see what the salary/potential earnings when qualified as an LPN can be for you.