What are the differences in job duties of a LPN in the U.S. vs. Canada?

  1. Thank you!!
  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   TheCommuter
    Based on comments posted on these forums over the years by Canadian nurses, it seems that LPNs and RPNs in the Canadian provinces have a wider scope of practice than American LPNs.
  4. by   studentnurse1989
    Thanks for your input! My RPN/LPN program was two years, but I'm under the impression that LPN programs in the U.S. are one year. Is that right?

    In Canada, LPNs can do most things that a RN can do - with a few exceptions. For example, LPNs here can push IV meds, do IV therapy, hang blood, give injections, d/c surgical drains, etc. However, we tend to have more stable patients. What is a LPN/LVN in the U.S. not allowed to do in comparison to a RN?

    Thank you very much!
    Last edit by studentnurse1989 on Jan 28, '13
  5. by   libran1984
    Its a state by state thing. Some states only let the LPN pass oral medications others let them do IVP therapy, blood administration, etc. the national standard in the US is that the LPN does not "assess" they collect data, while the RN performs a legally binding assessment. Now what's the difference between data collection and assessment?

    Well, in theory, I, an LPN, can collect data (but not interpret) that a COPD pt is feeling anxious (a common ailment for the condition) and is hyperventilating. I would then be obligated to inform the RN or physician. I can not make interventions alone and instruct the patient to try pursed lip breathing. I would have to wait for the instruction to come down the chain.

    But let's face reality... That is one heck of a slippery slope. Next thing you've got going on is a geriatric patient with soft tissue swelling r/t recent fall on the hip complaining of pain when they lie down. I collect that data (the pain score) and then report to the physician to interpret just to tell me to reposition the patient!? Puhlease!

    Thus the line between assessment and data collection is blurred.
  6. by   libran1984
    Oh and my LPN training was 2 years of pre-reqs and 1 full year of nursing school without extended breaks like summer- 3 years total. The RN program (associate degree) is still 4 years for two years of pre-reqs and two years of nursing classes, but they may get a summer break. That is just my community college, tho. I know of other programs that cost $40,000 but get u thru faster.
  7. by   studentnurse1989
    Thank you!
  8. by   AngelicDarkness
    What's a pre -req?
  9. by   Fiona59
    From what I can figure out, a pre-requ is required education to get into a nursing programme. Like finish your grade 12.

    I don't understand it myself. Here you need a Grade 12 with Chemistry, Biology, Math (depends on unis/colleges what level) diploma and chunk of cash and start applying to nursing programmes.
  10. by   AngelicDarkness
    Sounds complicated. Are there pre reqs for all careers or just health care?

    (Hi Fiona! Good to see you again)
  11. by   LadyFree28
    Pre-req's, or pre-requisites are required courses to obtain post-secondary (High School Grades 9-12 in the us) education, i.e. Associates (2-2.5 years, sometimes 3 years) Degree and Bachelors (4-5 years total, including pre-requisite and "core"/major classes) Degree.

    As for LPN scope, it definitely depends on the state...our country has federal laws, but most of our governing laws are made up by the states, including the scope of nursing care. It also gives autonomy for facilities to expand or limit that scope as well. As a LPN in my state, I can have IV therapy and Central Line care training, and can be Wound care certified; however, depending on policy, I may or may not be able to access central lines. There is a new scope of practice that has expanded the role to include blood and central line care, and a few other specifics, so the scopes and responsibilities are voted on and added to the Practice Acts for the scope of nurses who wish to practice in my state, whether they are LPN, RN, or APN. I have seen the practice acts increase in this state due to the complex care and technology that is needed for our patients; the bottom line is the skill sets that you have stated have and or are being implemented, at least in my state.
  12. by   LadyFree28
    Quote from Fiona59
    From what I can figure out, a pre-requ is required education to get into a nursing programme. Like finish your grade 12.

    I don't understand it myself. Here you need a Grade 12 with Chemistry, Biology, Math (depends on unis/colleges what level) diploma and chunk of cash and start applying to nursing programmes.
    It's similar here, Fiona, we are required to do Biology, except specifically Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, Math-Basic Algebra, even statistics in some cases, as well as ethics, philosophy...humanities-based classes and science classes; tailored after the "art and science of nursing."

    Sometimes the programs have the requirements in place and you just apply. We have a variety of ways to fulfill our schooling requirements, as long as they are board approved based in the state that one chooses to be licensed in. Most states have similar requirements for theory and practice as a student nurse in the program that is tailored for that education.
  13. by   vintage_RN
    Here in Ontario, you need gr 12 biology, chemistry, physics, math and english I believe. The avg is pretty high to get in, and you have to write a pre admission test that tests on science and math knowledge. Now if someone has been out of hs for 10yrs and doesn't have those courses then they would have to to back and do them..I guess you could call them pre reqs. I wouldn't group the amount of time taking pre reqs into your nursing education though...here RPN is 2 years and BSCN is 4 years...I did 2 years of upgrading my courses to get into RPN but that doesn't mean I did a 4 year program..it's still 2 years.
  14. by   LadyFree28
    Vintageandrea, we have gone through those sciences in high school as well, however we have "college level" sciences, english, math, and humanities courses (history, philosophy, ethics, etc) that we must take prior to entering the nursing coursework, if required...At the university I attended, those courses are a requirement for the degree. I completed my nursing courses Fall 2011, but had to take two courses that I needed to fulfill my BSN: Christianity and Philosophy of Ethics-I went to a Christian Brother University, so I was required to take two Religions, two Philosophies, History, a Art History (or a foreign language), Three types of Math (Algebra, Linear Math, then Science Statistics) And four sciences (anatomy & physiology I & II (Biology), Chemistry I & II; Physics was not required). Their philosophy is they require their students to be well rounded, critical thinkers and ready to serve their communities (I am not making this stuff up...that was a philosophy for the school, and every degree program had a requirement if humanities, religion, and philosophy as a requirement.). But that is my school.

    Depending on the school, prerequisites may be less or somewhat different or similar. And this coursework is for an undergrad degree, ASN and BSN.
    My program also had nursing research. So English courses, and statistics were essential in that class. We learned about nursing theorists in depth, had to create a Evidence-Base Practice Proposal. That coursework in the dividing difference for nurses in our country. ADN programs usually do not have research nursing, however, I can only speak of my experience and area, but that us usually the norm of the nursing educational system in America.