What does an LPN do exactly?

  1. I am putting together my list of programs to which I will apply and came across some LPN programs. What could I do as an LPN?
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    About bluemorningglory

    Joined: Feb '09; Posts: 179; Likes: 61


  3. by   OhBoy123
    The scope of practice for an LPN differs from state to state. In my state, IA, they function much as an RN, although are not able to do anything with IVs including meds. They have limited opportunities for advancement in my hospital.
  4. by   nerdtonurse?
    Like OhBoy said, it's state dependent, and it's also facility dependent. I can do things at my hospital (start blood, hang cardiotonics) that only RNs do at the hospital 30 miles down the road. Some places only let LPNs do what our CNAs do (fingerstick blood sugars, vitals, I/O). One reason I picked my hospital was it would let me practice at a higher level than some others.

    Here's a list of some of what I've done:

    --Spike blood, hang cardizem, maintain natrecor and dobutamine drips, put in Foleys, take out Foleys, put in NG tubes, take out NG tubes, feed via PEG or NGT, change dressings, assisted CRNAs during central line placement, thorocentesis and lumbar punctures on the floor, call a code, work a code, disimpact bowels, clean up after a person vomited up an esophageal varice, perform neuro checks, perform circulation checks, read EKGs, place folks in traction, place them in restraints, admit, discharge, perform patient teaching, hold their hand when they die, give them their final bath, put them in a body bag and take them to the morgue. The youngest I ever had was a 9 year old, and the oldest was 106.

    Nursing. The toughest job that will make you smell really, REALLY bad....
  5. by   BroadwayRN
    Depending on the state you live in LPN's can do just about everything that an RN can do. In many states they can do everything including starting and managing IV's and pushing IV meds. The only thing they cannot do is an admission assessment or be in charge.

    If you're going to school for a year or so you may as well go for 2 years and get your associates in nursing and be an RN.
  6. by   TheCommuter
    I am an LVN/LPN in Texas, which has a wide scope of practice. I am not allowed to pronounce death in this state, but I have been able to virtually do everything else.

    On the nursing home rehab unit where I worked for 2 years, we dealt with a lot of central lines, IV antibiotics, CPM machines, feeding tubes, suture removal, surgical staple removal, complicated wound care, narcotics, ostomy appliances, diabetic management, casts, braces, splints, cervical halos, and so forth.

    The medical patients were admitted for recovery from CVAs, acute MIs, debility, cancer, fractures, status post pneumonia, deconditioned states, failure to thrive, status post falls, and generalized weakness. The surgical patients were admitted for surgical procedures such as laminectomies, knee and hip arthroplasties, kyphoplasties, CABGs, hysterectomies, limb amputations, colectomies, thromboembolectomies, and abdominal aortic aneurysm repairs.

    I typically had 15 to 17 of these patients during day shift and 30+ during the night shift. Let's talk about stress...
  7. by   Faeriewand
    I very much agree with BroadwayRN.

    I work in a hospital on a med/surg floor and get to do everything accept the initial assesment, IV meds and charge. Only the RN does those things. I will never advance if I don't get my RN so I am going back to school. I am so glad I didn't pay $30.000 for some private school to get the LVN because I can't make that kind of money to pay that back because my pay is so low.

    As an LVN on the floor I know I am a little bit of a burden to the RN's because most pt's have an IV med and I have to ask the RN who is covering me to hang it. They are all gracious about it but then it's like they have an extra patient and have to check up on me to make sure I didn't make a mistake or it is also their mistake.

    I tell you I can't wait to be an RN making RN money and not being a burden.

    Now with that said my friend is an LVN and just loves her job! She works in a clinic with a hospital that puts LVN's in clinic positions while RN's do a different job. She works in a clinic that removes nevi *(those port wine stains) she says she can step outside when she feels she needs some air and doesn't have to work too hard. She get's every weekend off and get's home at a decent time every day. She would never become an RN because it would mean leaving her perfect job.

    Good luck with your decision blue!:heartbeat
  8. by   mauxtav8r
    This varies by region as well as by state. In some areas, LPN means "med nurse" and IV certification is expected after a bit of on the job training.

    LPNs are not trained to perform assessments, which is the main thing that RNs do to eval the pt's response to treatment ordered by medicine. This is not to say that no LPNs ever perform assessments. Some facilities treat LPNs as "almost" an RN, with an RN to sign off on the assessments done by the LPN. Not ideal, imho, because the depth of training in that area is just not there.

    If you are deciding between these programs, do a mock job search for both. In some areas an LPN is virtually worthless since some hospitals are going to RNs only. In other areas LPNs are widely used and there's little difference in the job function but the money is roughly half that of an RN.

    Good luck in your studies.
  9. by   ksangel
    lets see..... what havent i done...... i have monitored the blood transfusion, started and maintained the iv. i have not mixed meds for iv's. i have been charge nurse for snf, assisted living, janitor,housekeeper, cook-dietician, floor nurse. have changed way to many different types of dressing. i have suctioned trach tubes and dressing. tube feedings....med passes.,... family intervention... called dr, pronounced the patient dead. along with all the nurse aide and medication aide duties. when i look back ...wow i have done a lot of different things. but that is how a nurse grows. love when the hospital finally calls back and says the pt was admitted with pnuemonia..... but lpn dont know how to distinguish breath sounds.....my nursing school was very strict on heart and lung sounds. not so good at the heart sounds as i wish i was. if i didnt i wouldnt have got out of nursing school. i have been lpn for 10 years now. i took few years off and am going bak soon. will probably end up in long term care. biggest bonus for me..... i called ems before dr...... told ems get here now suspect heart block and gave them the info.... and had aide dailing numbers as fast as she could hand me the phone so i could be with the patient....called dr...said oh you dont know...... ekg showed a very messed up rhythym.. didnt reconize strip.... ems called hospital with info.... dr still refused to believe......long story short.... nurse right dr.... to hesitant... patient had 3rd degree heart block ...95% occulded....20 minutes and she would have been gone... pacemaker and quick nurse that day... made my patient much better. this had been going on for long time and no one caught till a lpn did