Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Job Description, Roles, Duties & Responsibilities

Licensed Practical Nursing is an in-demand health-care occupation that is expected to grow very fast. With ample job opportunities and good salary all over the United States, it falls under the list of the most alluring career fields. If you are an aspirant of practical nursing, you must be looking for a complete description of the job roles, responsibilities handled by these professionals, and what does an LPN do. In this article, we have accumulated the prominent practical nursing responsibilities and tasks.

LPN Nurse Job Description

You may find LPNs working in hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes. All the clinical settings and healthcare facilities have a huge demand for them as they provide general and routine care to the patients. Though, as per their working places, there could be some disparities in the clinical tasks they get involved in. For instance, a practical nurse working at a doctor’s office might need to undertake some administrative duties such as communication with patients, decision making, etc. whereas a nurse practicing in an emergency room of a hospital has to take vital signs of the patients or need to help them in bathing and dressing.

Roles Played by an LPN

At present, practical nurses have a wide scope to practice in the United States of America. With respect to places where they work, there are many job roles executed by LPNs. Some of them are discussed below –

  1. Counselor
    While practicing as a counselor licensed practical nurses, they assist to patients and their families in talking freely about illness and the healthcare services provided to them. In this role, the nurses make their patients believe that they are with them to combat against their health issues.
  2. Researcher
    Being a researcher, LPNs try to find out if there is any issue in the care plan provided to a patient and if it is so, they try to analyze and resolve the problems. It is their responsibility to find out the best treatment plan for the patients.
  3. Collaborator
    As a collaborator, licensed practical nurses have to share problems and information with other members of the team. They try to find out best solutions to the issues by discussion.
  4. Consultant
    Since practical nurses work under the supervision of registered nurses or physicians, they need to communicate directly with their bosses. Proper communication is quite essential to provide perfect and secure care to the patients.
  5. Clinical
    Playing the role of a clinical, an LPN has to undertake all the primary responsibilities related to the patients. As a clinical, these nurses evaluate and monitor the patients, take care of their medications, change the dressings and other technical tasks comprising nursing.
  6. Advocate
    Advocacy is somewhat standing by the side of patients. In this role, practical nurses protect the rights of patients and try to ameliorate their situation.
  7. Manager
    As a manager, these professionals regulates the care plans of patients. To make it successful, LPNs manage the co-workers and instruct them as a team leader. Also, they guide nursing assistants and encourage them to give their best.
  8. Educator
    Proper patient education is one of the most crucial things that a patient needs. Medication teaching, wound care, etc. are some things taught by the practical nurse to the patients. For this, it is must for the professionals to understand the patients’ learning style and behavior. Being an educator, LPNs encourage them to speak about their problems and clear their doubts.

LPN Job Duties and Responsibilities

Majority of the tasks performed by an LPN are regardless of their workplace environment, whereas some solely depend on the clinical settings. Here are some of the prominent LPN duties and responsibilities –

  • Keeping a check on the eating habits of the patients and how many times they are using the washroom.
  • Assembling the equipment like gastrostomy tubes, catheters, and oxygen supplies.
  • Providing the basic bedside care like dressing wounds, changing bandages, inserting catheters, and giving injections.
  • Taking the patient's vital signs such as respiration, temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate.
  • Enter the data related to the record of patients in computer systems.
  • Admitting and billing patients
  • Interview patients and examine their medical history.
  • Regulate vaccinations and injections
  • Educate and encourage patients to avoid unhealthy routine
  • Keep the health records updated
  • Inform the patients about the doctor’s order or test results via mail or call
  • Assist registered nurses and other superior nurses to develop best care plan for the patients
  • Help the patients to understand documentation or paperwork
  • Talk to the patients about their present problems, allergies, medications and keep an eye on their medical records
  • Accomplish scheduled immunizations, visual acuity testing, nebulizer treatments, and regulate TB tests
  • Talk to the patients and their families about their treatment plan, tests, and diagnoses
  • Supervise certified nursing assistants and other non-licensed nursing professionals
  • Starting, monitoring, or discontinuing the intravenous catheters or the intravenous fluids.
  • Taking verbal orders from the MD (Doctor of Medicine)
  • Aid in phlebotomy - analyze patients, look over the requisition form for requested tests, and set equipment, patient and puncture site.
  • Assists in IV set-ups: validate solution to be regulated, analyzing infusion site, keep track of IV function and patient comfort, and terminate IV at an appropriate time, as ordered by MD.
  • Manage adequate inventory of examination room supplies and set the rooms.
  • Undertake various office responsibilities: answer calls and reply to messages and execute triage within the scope of licensed practical nursing practice in an accurate and precise way.
  • Help to coordinate patient referrals and take part in the training and orientation of new employees.
  • Call pharmacies for ordering prescriptions and store supplies in the rooms of patients

Some tasks are not performed by the practical nurses but are often misunderstood as their duties, like:

  • Taking calls or verbal orders from the doctor.
  • Providing intravenous medication in an emergency.
  • Regulating the intravenous catheters or fluids.
  • Taking care of the central intravenous lines.
  • Undertaking action over clinical data.
  • Creating the nursing care plan.
  • Supervising the assistants to handle medications of the patients who are not self-directed.
  • Applying a protocol that has not been given to a specific patient by the doctor, assistant of the physician or a nurse practitioner, unless asked to manage a part of the order by an RN who has observed the patient in-person.
  • Giving an intravenous therapy through any venous chest or arm port central line.
  • Inserting or detaching any central line, or drawing blood from it.