The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 22 percent growth rate in the licensed practical nursing field. This is far above the average for most occupation. The positive growth outlook makes this career promising. The BLS statistics attributes the growth to a high number of nurses approaching retirement and the rise in chronic illnesses.
Practical nurses perform different capacities depending on the setting. Practical nurses can be positioned in clinics, physician offices, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, psychiatric centers, hospice/homecare agencies, and schools. Originally, practical nurses worked as bedside nurses. However, their job scope has changed to handle more duties.
Flexible Enough to Handle a Variety of Tasks
Practical nurses are distinguished for their flexibility and adaptability. Practical nurses are also licensed to administer medication and ensure that their patients are comfortable. In a clinic setting, these nurses are the ears and eyes of physicians and registered nurses. In essence, practical nurses spend more time with the patients than the registered nurses or doctors.
They are expected to exhibit diligence in their work. Ongoing medical assessment is crucial for recovering patients. Practical nurses also assume the role of managing the care plans. They ensure that the medical plans are followed as per the physician’s instructions.
Stay Up to Date With the Latest Procedures
These nurses are required to stay updated and inform patients of newer and better care treatment options. In some settings, a practical nurse may have the responsibility of training other co-workers. These nurses can be team leaders and also be responsible for supervising other nursing assistants.
Practical nurses also play an advocacy role and are required to supply the necessary information to their patients. They are also expected to report any significant changes in the patient to the physician. They also speak and advocate on behalf of patients whose rights have been infringed on.
Changing Responsibilities as the Workplaces Change
As technology advances, practical nurses are also being integrated into residential care facilities. This is promising for the candidates who are pursuing a career in practical nursing. Residential care facilities include assisted living centers, nursing homes, and even private residences. As the elderly population increases, there is a need to hire more practical nurses to fill in the roles.
The advancements in the healthcare center have also seen an increase in outpatient care centers. Today, these care centers also conduct health procedures and diagnostic tests hence have increased the positions to be filled by licensed practical nurses. The need for education among patients and workers also provide great opportunities for those pursuing practical nursing.
There has also been an increase in the number of doctors opening private offices and clinics. The private sector has also embraced many practical nurses. The trend is expected to go on in the future. The number of registered nurses relinquishing their jobs to join the private practice also creates jobs for incumbents.
In addition to this, the common duties of a practical nurse include:
- Administering injections and medications
- Checking vital signs
- Recording weight and blood pressure on the system
- Basic wound care such as bandaging and cleaning
- Monitoring patients closely
- Consulting with the doctors on the best standard of care and treatment
- Patient education
As projected, any practical nurse has a positive career outlook. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is expected to be steady growth over the next decade and beyond. While competition is expected in this field, the nursing industry can still absorb many candidates pursuing practical nursing. Get started today by sitting down with our admission counselors at Athena Career Academy.