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

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  2. 14 Comments...

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    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.
    BrandonLPN and itsmejuli like this.
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    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
    AngelicDarkness likes this.
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    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.
    studentnurse1989 and Meriwhen like this.
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    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.
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    Thank you!
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    What's a pre -req?
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    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.
    loriangel14 likes this.
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    Sounds complicated. Are there pre reqs for all careers or just health care?

    (Hi Fiona! Good to see you again)
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    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.
    studentnurse1989 likes this.

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