Common Work Environments for LPNs
Licensed practical nurses are a vital part of the health care team. They can be found in a number of work environments. Although most people would imagine a nurse working directly with a physician either in an office or through a hospital facility of some kind, the truth is that the majority of licensed practical nurses actually work in nursing care facilities.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the percentages of licensed practical nurses working in various health care environments are as follows:
- Nursing homes – 29%
- Hospital facilities – 15%
- Physician offices – 12%
- Home health providers – 9%
- Retirement homes – 5%
Licensed practical nurses working in nursing homes must be able to offer compassionate care to elderly patients of varying mental, emotional and physical capacities. Typical duties in this environment include bathing and lifting patients. LPNS will also usually be responsible for cleaning beds.
LPNs working in a hospital facility serve many of the same purposes as they do in nursing homes, however they are also working closely with other nurses such as RNS who are higher up on the nursing hierarchy in a hospital setting. LPNs will generally serve more of a nursing assistant position in a hospital work environment. Shifts can occur at any time of day or night.
The numbers of LPNs are significantly lower in the offices of physicians. However, LPNs may work side by side in an assistant role to the registered nurses who work in the offices. The shifts in a physician’s office are much more predictable as many are only open during regular business hours.
Home Health Providers
A licensed practical nurse can also work directly with a patient in their homes when employed by a home health company. LPNs can be responsible for caretaking duties such as the hygienic upkeep of the sick and the shut-in. LPNs working in this type of environment must be prepared to travel various distances to get to each patients home.
The smallest population of licensed practical nurses can be found in a retirement home setting. Arguably, the majority of residents at a retirement home are still able to care for themselves for the most part. Therefore, the duties and numbers of LPNs needed are much lower than they would be in other work environments. Typical duties still include lifting residents and attending to basic care needs as they arise.
Licensed practical nurses are an invaluable part of the health care community. Regardless of the work environment in which they are employed, they play an important role in the maintenance of patient care.
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