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What is a Typical Work Day Like for an LPN?

The primary responsibilities of a licensed practical nurse (LPN) are to provide care to patients under the direction of registered nurses (RNs) and physicians. LPNs are responsible for general duties like taking the patient’s temperature, observing the patient undergoing treatment, giving the patient baths, and administering certain types of oral and injectable medications. They must be able to make sound decisions under pressure and monitor a patient who may be going to the emergency room or just coming out of surgery. LPNs typically work in a hospital or clinic setting, and shoulder some of the responsibilities of the registered nurse on staff.

Here are some roles and job duties of a licensed practical nurse. on a typical day:

Beginning of a Shift

Licensed practical nurses typically work in eight or 12 hour shifts. They begin their shift by talking to the nurse working with each patient and finding out what the patient’s status is, and what type of medication r treatment the patient might be receiving that day. They may need to go over doctor’s reports, review treatment sheets, look at the patient’s history records, and make sure they understand exactly what stage of treatment the patient is currently in. they will be advised on whether they need to Collect samples for lab tests at a certain time of the day, and may be assigned to deliver specimen samples to a lab outside of their department at some point during their shift.

Meeting with Patients

As a patient wakes up or is being prepared for surgery or other treatment, the LPN provides assistance in bathing the patient and checking vital signs. They must record the patient’s condition, monitor catheters, and dress any wounds that may have become exposed overnight. The LPN may also be responsible for feeding the patient according to the recommended meal plan.

Monitoring Patient’s Responses to Medication and Treatment

LPNs are responsible for documenting everything the patient experiences as they go through each treatment phase and must pay close attention to the patient’s reaction to medications and treatments. They must write down exactly what they observe and report their findings to a nurse on duty in a timely manner. This is why strong communication and accurate data keeping skills are essential for this role.

Administering Medication

Those who have completed a licensed practical nurse degree are authorized to administer oral medication and injections under the direction of a registered nurse, surgeon, or doctor. They must receive a formal directive to provide a certain dosage of medication to the patient, sanitize and prepare all medication administration materials, and give the patient the appropriate amount of medication at the right time.

Managing Administrative Tasks

Some LPNs will be assigned to various administrative tasks during their “downtime”. These tasks may include collecting information for the insurance paperwork, preparing reports, and organizing patient files. Most of these tasks are typically managed by another staff member of administrative assistant but can also be assigned to an LPN on duty. These tasks are typically completed at the end of a shift and must be performed with accuracy.

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