What can CDN LPN's do for specialty?

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Hi - I'm looking for some information on what CDN (specifically AB) LPN's can do for specialty - or do you need a BScN for all of the fields. Specifically I'm interested in Palliative or Oncology nursing - what areas are open to LPN's. Maybe another way to ask is "What areas are NOT open to LPN's?" Do you need years and years of experience and friends in high places to get into these areas?

I'd love to hear from those who know - I'm wondering if I've limited myself too much by taking a PN program instead of RN? I'm hearing that at our local hospital that though the LPN's work on the floor with the RN's in Acute or Med-Surg they are mainly doing the work of NA's and tend to only be given the very least-challenging patients (think LTC needs waiting for LTC placements...)

I still have so much to learn about how the "real world" of nursing works - and sometimes I'm afraid to ask the wrong person the wrong question and look like an idiot (NEVER about how to provide care, just about this type of stuff). :confused:


Specializes in Med/Surg, LTC/Geriatric.

I think it depends on where in AB you are. Fiona 59 is in Calgary (I think) and she can do A LOT!!! Full patient assignment, IV starts, IV meds etc. I'm not sure about elsewhere in AB.

In BC, I could specialize as a foot care nurse, Operating room nurse, ortho tech (putting casts on etc). I could work in hospice, which requires some extra training, but I don't think it's considered "specialized".

Best of luck with the rest of your program!

In AB, specialty tags can be obtained in Dialysis (hemo), OR, Orthopedics, Immunization, and advanced footcare.

AHS states it is committed to utilizing their nurses to full scope of pratice across the province. So your hospital may be in for a huge change.

IV starts are now considered a basic skill in my hospital. I've heard the Cross Cancer is hiring LPNs in Edmonton. I've never heard of an LPN in NICU or PICU.

At the RAH, LPNs are certified in cytotoxic administration up to and including oral. Floor RNs just recently got certified in IV cytotoxics, so we're all wondering what evil Duckbrain et al are planning.

Experience is good. Palliative needs a lot of people smarts and good assessment skills, so a new grad isn't going to walk into a job there. It really depends on the unit manager who they will hire for a specialty. Used to be new grads were hired all the time for postpartum in Edmonton, with the lifting of the freeze who knows? The specialties like Cardiology, Opthamology, Gynie, prefer you to have at least six months surgical experience before they will think of hiring you (these are also units that nurses with experience will apply for) The managers want you to come with good assessment skills and a knowledge base so they can concentrate on you getting to know the specialty within your service.

But then if you are in a really small hospital, will you even have some of the specialties?

Well, I might not always be in a small town without the specialities... ;)

The province did announce a new 520 million hospital due to begin construction next year. It will have radiation vaults so that GP cancer patients do not have to travel to Edmonton or Calgary for tx. We do have a cancer tx center here that does some treatment.

Post grad, what would you recommend I do in order to make myself more likely to be able to grow as a nurse? There aren't any positions listed currently, though I've been told LTC is pretty much always hiring. I am an internal employee for AHS now so that if this blasted freeze ever lifts I have a better chance of getting hired.

What type of unit do you personally like best, and why?

Well, we're still waiting for the Sherwood Park Hospital/ER to be done.... Don't put too much trust in what Steady Eddie and his government promise.

Working Surgery units is always good experience because you get all ages. (Children have never appealed to me and I've got a couple of my own). What's good with surgical units is you never really know what you're getting. Post-ops are a given, but we get Palliative admits, when the specialties are full, they wind up on the floor as well.

Now, the thing with being an internal AHS candidate will all come down into which bargaining unit you are in. We've got two AUPE bargaining units at my site and while you may be an "in-house applicant", your seniority may not apply.

I'm a surgical nurse, when it comes down to it, in an ideal world patients are like that old sayin, "fish/houseguests should be gone in three days". Medicine in my nightmare, they never go home. When I graduated there was a shortage of jobs and I wound up in LTC. I'll work fastfood before I go to LTC.

So, a day surgery unit or a wound clinic position would be my idea of heaven. Not enough seniority yet, those jobs are sought after. It takes around 15 service years even to get an interview for those jobs because the bulk of the shifts are straight days. I don't think I'll ever have the time in, I've applied but can't even get an interview.

Thank you soo much for asking this! I was wanting to know exactly the same things. =] Best of luck!!:redpinkhe

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