LPN Scope of Practice

The very first question that pops up in the mind of the students who want to become a licensed practical nurse is, "What do these professionals really do?" There are numerous myths about the working responsibilities of LPNs, which are needed to be eliminated before you get into this profession. Practical nurses carry out their task under the supervision of Registered Nurses or physicians. Let’s discuss in detail the scope of practice for LPNs.

Tasks that LPNs are Supposed to Perform

In various clinical settings, licensed practical nurses are expected to accomplish the following duties

  • Keeping the accurate and complete medical records.
  • Accumulating the blood, sputum, urine, and other specimens.
  • Feeding the patients through a gastrostomy or nasogastric tube.
  • Keeping track of the condition of the patients.
  • Administering the intravenous and oral medications.
  • Observing the patient’s vital signs.
  • Dressing the wounds of the patients.
  • Inserting and regulating the urinary catheters.
  • Providing the special care to the patients with tracheostomy tube or who are on ventilators.
  • Caring for ostomies.
  • Calling the physician, if required.
  • Performing CPR during emergencies.
  • Starting, observing, and/or discontinuing the intravenous fluids or intravenous catheters.

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.