What Are the Duties of a Licensed Practical Nurse?


Quick Answer

A licensed practical nurse provides direct patient care, monitors patients, answers questions, documents procedures and reports changes to a registered nurse or physician. The specific duties vary, depending on the work setting and regulations.

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Full Answer

A licensed practical nurse attends a program lasting about one year and learns the basics of patient care. The degree takes less time than a registered nurse program and often has fewer responsibilities and decision-making authority. A licensed practical nurse is more likely to carry out medical procedures ordered by another medical professional rather than decide what needs to be done.

Each state sets requirements and regulations for the licensed practice nurse role. In some states, an LPN is only allowed to do basic patient care and no medical procedures, such as IVs. Other states give LPNs more responsibilities. Care duties assigned to an LPN often include taking vital signs, changing bandages, bathing patients and inserting catheters.

Since an LPN is likely to interact frequently with patients, she communicates with the patients and families about the care plan and procedures. The LPN may provide support and comfort to patients. LPNs work in a variety of settings, including nursing care facilities, hospitals and physicians' offices. The level of patient interaction and duties vary, depending on where the LPN works.

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