Job Description Of an LPN

One of the most highly respected careers in health care is the Licensed Practical Nurse. This profession appeals to individuals who like a fast-paced job with a variety of responsibilities. Being a positive presence in the lives of sick and injured patients is a rewarding experience.

There is a wide range of services provided by an LPN. There are many choices for employment including hospitals, nursing homes, medical offices, and home health care. Sometimes families will hire an LPN to be a private nurse for a family member. Many health insurance companies are hiring LPNs to answer patients’ questions concerning health needs. The exact nature of the duties depends on the environment of the specific job although there are commonalities in all positions.

Common Duties

Many tasks are performed regardless of the job environment. The LPN will usually be the first medical professional to work with a patient. Recording the patient’s history is one of the first duties. Other jobs the LPN performs include:

  • Giving medication as prescribed by a physician
  • Taking vital signs, such as blood pressure, temperature, and weight
  • Basic wound care including cleaning and bandaging injured areas
  • Giving injections of medication
  • Immunizations
  • Taking medical histories
  • Entering information into computer systems

Job-Specific Duties

In addition to the standard duties of the LPN there are some that are specific to certain job settings. When dealing with ill or injured patients in a hospital, the duties often are:

  • Managing IVs
  • Ensuring patients and their families understand release instructions
  • Supervising CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants)
  • Monitoring fluid and food intake and output
  • Moving patients safely

LPNs often work with patients in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. They are also common in the home health care field. All of these jobs may require the nurse to perform additional tasks including:

  • Assessing patients’ reactions to medications
  • Assessing patients' mental health
  • Providing emotional support
  • Assisting with daily needs such as bathing and dressing
  • Observation of patients' skin for potential bed sores

Medical offices and clinics employ many LPNs. In addition to nursing duties, there are often paperwork responsibilities such as:

  • Scheduling appointments
  • Keeping medical records current
  • Billing patients
  • Working with insurance companies
  • Writing prescriptions at a physician's request

The LPN is often the first face a patient sees. He or she can advocate for the patient when working with the RN or doctor in charge. Ability to handle a diverse range of situations and responsibilities is the primary duty of an LPN. Whether working in a traditional hospital or medical setting or on the front lines in home health care, the LPN is a vital member of the health care team.

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