There is a common misconception when it comes to doctors and nurses - while doctors might have the medical knowledge of the patients, the doctors rarely do all the little things like making sure the blood tests of a certain patient have been sent to the appropriate lab. This is where Licensed Practical Nurses come in - they perform some of the most vital tasks in any hospital like environment. It would be virtually impossible for the Licensed Practical Nurses to cover all the basis (or the doctors for that matter), and it is therefore a very important niche for the LPN to fill in the gaps.
Here are some typical tasks expected of an LPN:
Most importantly, the LPN has to work under the direction of either a registered nurses or a doctor.
LPN's go on rounds with the doctor at the beginning of every shift to ascertain what the patients needs are and be able to carry out instructions by the doctor to the letter.
They are assigned the task of monitoring daily variations in the vital signs of patients which is one of the most important tasks, as this is crucial in order to come up with a diagnosis.
They have to prepare the patient for tests, such as taking blood and urine samples and sending it to the appropriate lab. LPN's also have to
LPN's have to write up daily reports letting the doctor know what procedures, medicines and tests have been given to the patient.
It is important that they take care of the hygiene of patients who are in the hospital for long periods of time and this includes bathing and washing them.
They are given the task of feeding incapacitated patients, those who cannot feed themselves. This includes tube feeding to the stomach.
LPNs have to monitor all patients on an IV drip, making sure that the IV's are changed when needed and tracking what medication have been administered to the patient.
LPNs are assigned the task of monitoring medication, dosages and ensuring that patients take their dosages on time for effective patient care.
They are also the ones to assist the doctor with minor wounds and injuries, applying dressings and bandages and performing other first aid tasks
LPNs may also have to change catheters, naso-gastric tubes, epidural infusions, perform tracheotomy care, fluid bags, and oxygen supplies.
If it is necessary, the LPN has to assist in the home care of a patient. This can be done without supervision and entails helping a handicapped patient with bathing, changing clothes and eating.
It is the LPN, who would make sure that the patient gets a massage to alleviate discomfort due to a long stay in bed.
It is their task to prepare patients for surgery - ensuring they are aware of the procedure being done, to see that they are in the proper surgical attire and pre - medicating them before surgery or an appointment.
As part of the list the typical tasks expected of a LPN the LPN has the most difficult palette of work to do. They are often found in the hospital at all hours including weekends. Although the work is hard and LPN's require both emotional and physical strength, the job is very rewarding as you are able to nurse a sick person back to good health.