The restoration and provision of the health of patients is not possible without the service of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). They deal directly with patients on daily basis.
Duties and Responsibilities of LPNs
The service of licensed practical nurses is highly important in a healthcare setting. They take care of the needs of patients and report to the supervisory nurses and doctors regarding the discomforts and problems of patients during treatment. The LPNs need to provide direct care to the patients. They communicate with the patients directly and provide care to them. Some of the common duties of LPNs are described below.
Working in an emergency room is highly stressed. It will be filled with injured patients. Severely injured patients are handled by doctors. But, LPNs are assigned to deal patients with simple wounds and injuries. It helps to save the time of doctors. Changing dresses, cleaning wounds, applying bandages and dressings, assisting in suture placements and giving simple injections are the duties assigned to an LPN.
Licensed practical nurses are responsible to monitor the daily variations in vital signs of patients. This record is essential for doctors to diagnose the health of patients and their recovery from sicknesses or major surgical procedures.
After admitting in a hospital or healthcare setting, the patients need to undergo tests to assess the health and vitality of organs. LPNs need to prepare patients for these procedures. They need to dress patients and convey them to appointment or hospital departments. Pre-medicating patients before required appointments is also the duty of an LPN.
Patients who are admitted in a hospital need to follow a medication protocol. Monitor medications, dosages and ensure that patients take the medicines on time are the responsibilities of LPNs. These are essential for providing effective patient care.
Licensed practical nurses are trained to work in a home care facility without supervision. They help handicapped patients to do daily tasks such as bathing, changing clothes, eating, etc. If they are provided a little additional clinical training, they can monitor the medications of patients and carry out simple home care procedures like insulin injection, period bed changes to prevent bed sores, catheter changes, etc.
LPNs need to provide therapeutic massages to bedridden patients.
These nurse practitioners are also assigned to do tasks such as bedding change, help to dressing, bathing and toileting to patients who are admitted to the hospital for a long period of time.
It is the duty of practical nurses to monitor carefully the IV drip of patients who are being administered medications, blood, glucose, etc. The level of IV solutions must be monitored periodically and it must be changed whenever required. Change catheters, epidural infusions, naso-gastric tubes, perform tracheotomy care, oxygen supplies and fluid bags are the other duties of licensed practical nurses.
Food and Water
They are also assigned to feed incapacitated patients and to ensure that they get constant supply of water.
Doctors, sometimes, leave special instructions, which have to be provided for sick patients. A highly trained LPN can follow physicians during his/her rounds. They must also carry out the instructions of physicians.
It is one of the most important aspect of the duties of a licensed practical nurse. They need to deal with depressed patients who are in severe pain. They also need to provide emotional support to patients in distress.
Licensed practical nurses can seek employment in a variety of settings such as hospitals, nursing home, rehabilitation centers, urgent care clinic, home care facility, nursing homes, schools, etc. The duties and responsibilities of these nurses vary according to the settings they work.
Areas of Practice
Licensed practical nurses can also seek employment in some exciting areas as well. You can increase your efficiency, marketability and professionalism if you work in many areas. If you are employed in pediatrics department, you need to provide nursing care to newborn to children under 18.
Those who work in labor and delivery department need to care pregnant women during and after delivery and they need to care the newborn as well.
If you are working in burn unit, you need to do dressing changes, monitoring for sepsis, pain management, etc. Trauma IUC, Cardiac IUC, emergency room, Neuro ICU, oncology, neonatal, gerontology, etc are the other areas of practice for LPN programs.
If you want to become an LPN, you must be willing to provide care to patients completely. But, you must work under the supervision of a physician or a trained nurse. Duties of a licensed practical nurse are very hard. You must have lots of mental and physical strength to carry out these tasks.