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How important is neuro to an LVN/LPN?


Specializes in Rehabilitation; LTC; Med-Surg.

A few weeks ago in class I asked my instructor to explain a way to remember all the pairs of cranial nerves. He told me point blank, "For your scope of practice, and level of education, the LVN does not need to focus a whole lot on neuro, except for the things like hearing, vision and smell." That just doesn't sit well with me. What are your thoughts on neuro in relation to the LVN/LPN scope of practice?

Daytonite, BSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

i think it would be very important to know the cranial nerves, especially if you work with stroke patients, spinal cord injury patients or on a neuro unit.

this webpage explains how to assess the cranial and spinal nerve functions: http://meded.ucsd.edu/clinicalmed/neuro2.htm. it is also posted on this sticky thread: https://allnurses.com/nursing-student-assistance/health-assessment-resources-145091.html - health assessment resources, techniques, and forms.

flightnurse2b, LPN

Specializes in EMS, ER, GI, PCU/Telemetry.

it's very important, don't ever let anyone sell you short of knowledge.

i am NIHSS certified and care for patients with CVA's daily. it is not outside of my scope to perform a neuro check or a post-stroke packet (i just can't do the tPA checklist). i need to be alert for any patient on my floor exhibiting neurological changes or signs of an infarct.


Specializes in Cardiac Care.

You need to know the cranial nerves for assessment. However, LPN's scope is not to assess as much as an RN perhaps, but like the above posters said in the places you will work you are the eyes and ears with critical thinking skills above those of the CNA/PCT's and should be aware of what is normal so that when someone presents abnormal you know what you are looking for and can explain it to a RN or Doctor, with confidence and knowledge.

As for an easy way to remember them... there are many. PM me with your email and I can send you a picture of how I remembered them and their relationships, to go along with the many sticky threads on colorful phrases to help you remember the order and names!

Our school told us that as well. We were watching the neuro assessment video and our clinical learning lab instructors turned it off about halfway through and said we wouldn't have to go into that much detail unless we were working on a neuro floor. I agree with you...never hurts to know, especially if you've got a patient on another floor who suddenly has blurred vision or can't taste anything.

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