What Do LPNs Do on a Daily Basis?

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Over the last several years the LPN duties,  like the RN duties, have expanded to become more complex due to more in-depth education.

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What Do LPNs Do daily?

The regular duties of a licensed practical nurses involves monitoring patient vitals and condition, administering medications, supervising of nurse aides, and education and teaching.

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What are the Duties of the LPN in a Nursing Home Setting?

The duties of the LPN in a nursing home setting are much the same as found in a hospital setting. The RN remains responsible for the LPN. The RN and the LPN are accountable for the nursing home’s nurse aides (CENA staff). 

The LPN duties vary from facility to facility.

What one facility allows the LPN to do, another facility may not allow the LPN to carry out that duty. On the whole, the LPN must carry out the following tasks and remain within the confines of state laws.

  • Administer routine medications
  • Administer narcotic pain medications
  • Insulin Injections, and other injections such as Z-trac medication injections. 
  • Wound care
  • Documentation of Medications, wound sites, and pertinent information about the patient
  • Start, maintain, and discontinue IVs
  • IV Push Medications
  • Assist the CNA and RN as Needed
  • Transcribes doctor orders and verifies orders with the doctor
  • Transcribes new medication records at the end of the month
  • Rechecks all doctor orders on all patients

The LPN calls the doctor as needed, takes new prescription orders, verifies the doctor’s orders, and orders the new medications from the pharmacy. 

The LPN completes new medication records every month and double checks every medication order on every patient. 

Other Staff Members

Duties of a RN in a Nursing Home

An RN is required to be on staff within the nursing home setting. A licensed RN or LPN must be on duty 24 hours per day.

In a nursing home setting, the RN remains responsible for the LPN and CENA actions. The LPN deals directly with the CENA.

However, the RN is directly accountable for both the LPN and CENA. 

The RN duties in a nursing home setting are the same duties as the LPN. But, the RN and LPN share the responsibility for the actions of the CNA.

Only an RN can be a Director of Nursing. 

An LPN can take an Assistant Director of Nursing position because this administrative position remains under the RN.

The RN and LPN share the same responsibilities in a nursing home setting, such as the following and according to state law. 

  • Perform Medication Passes
  • Complete monthly staff schedules
  • Wound Care
  • Assess Patients’ Condition
  • Administer injections
  • Transcribe Verbal Doctor Orders
  • Do medication Reviews and Checks
  • Primary Patient Care
  • Complete the Minimum Data Set on every patient as required by the state under an RN’s direction
  • Can take the position of Assistant Director of Nursing
  • Contributes to the Individual Plan of Care
  • Inserts Bladder Catheters
  • Performs Sterile Procedures
  • Reports Patient Changes to the RN and Doctor

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Duties of a CNA in a Nursing Home Setting 

The CNA performs daily and primary hygiene care for all patients. These duties include, 

  • Bathing
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Grooming
  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Exercising
  • Recording Vital Signs
  • Assist the RN or LPN as needed 
  • Tides patient rooms
  • Makes beds and changes linens as required
  • Assists patients on outings and trips

The CNA assists the nurses with drawing blood, monitoring vital signs, and reporting patient status changes such as behavior. 

Pro Tip:
Each state has its own board of nursing with different regulations on what nurses can and can’t do.

On top of that different facilities within the states will also limit what nurses can do.

With that said, make sure to check with your state’s nurse practice act and your facility protocol for details on what you’re allowed to do.

The Daily Life at Work for an LPN

At the beginning of the LPN era, duties were limited to the patient’s hygiene, feeding the patients who needed help with meals, keeping the patient’s room clean, and other essential tasks.

The LPN never administered medications. The medical technician or CNA now performs these duties. 

The registered nurse was at one time responsible for getting vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse, medicine administration, and wound treatment. 

Nursing schools gradually started to teach the LPN duties that are more in-depth and once reserved for the RN.

Getting vital signs, passing medications, and completing wound care, drawing blood, and starting and maintaining Intervenous Therapy. However, the RN was still responsible for what the LPN did daily. 

The LPN must complete advanced education to do IV therapy, draw blood for lab tests, and learn the proper administration and documentation of these procedures.

The LPN has to take advanced education and be certified to draw blood and administer IV therapy. But, the RN is still responsible for what the LPN does daily. There must be annual documented education of the LPN.

With proper advanced education, the LPN can administer fluids, high-risk medications, Total Parenteral Nutrition, blood transfusions, and blood products.

Some patients have a central venous catheter and central lines. The LPN can now administer emergency cardiac medications through IV Push.

This procedure was once reserved for the doctor and eventually went to the RN, and now the LPN. 

The hospital must have a policy and procedure in place and reviewed annually related to duties performed by the LPN. The LPN must be educated with advanced knowledge and specific

abilities and complete an instructional program.

The hospital must keep this instruction on file from year to year. During an IV push administration of high-risk medications, the RN must directly supervise the LPN.

The LPN maintains skills such as performing a peripheral venipuncture, the flushing of peripheral lines, PICC lines, and central lines. 

The word “professional nurse” was once reserved for the registered nurse. However, the LPN is every bit as professional due to increased skill levels and being a large part of the medical team. 

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Final Thoughts

The doors of opportunity are wide open for jobs for the LPN. Over recent years, the LPN’s scope of duties has increased and advanced due to more in-depth instruction.