Where Does the Scope of Practice Begin and End for a Practical Nurse

Posted by Athena Career Academy on Oct 10, 2017



Practical Nurses are a valuable asset in the health and wellness sector. They play a vital role in implementation and monitoring of a variety of tasks geared towards treating ailments, promoting health and sometimes preventing the illness from occurring in the first place.

While this general description might be enough to drive you into the career, knowing your expected scope of practice will help you make informed decisions. In most cases, your scope of practice will be limited by your training, competencies and where you choose to work.

Practicing Nursing is Extremely Hands On

Different states and institutions have varied scopes of practice for their registered practicing nurses. This is a testimony to how dynamic the start and end of a PN’s responsibilities might be.

A consensus across the board hints on the fact that your scope as a PN will end whenever you begin stepping into a field you are not legally qualified to practice in. This loose but confining scope definition is critical since a nurse’s main responsibility is to take care of a patient to the best of his or her abilities.

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Care for, Monitor and Instruct

A PN’s main responsibility is to implement treatment, make observations, maintain or promote health and sometimes train subordinate personnel or patients on a variety of healthcare procedures. This means that nurses can actively help a patient recover but may not be involved in direct treatment or prescription.

This leaves us with a very wide scope of operation as to how much care giving, monitoring or training a registered practiced nurse can give. The following list of the most popular things that nurses can do in addition to administering medication and aiding a registered nurse, psychologist, dentist or licensed physician include:

  • Act as medical personnel during transportation of a patient, monitoring their vital signs and ensuring their comfort
  • Check blood pressure and temperature of patients
  • Perform any tasks that improve health and hygiene
  • Do head to toe physical assessments
  • Ensure the general comfort and well-being of the patient

As a practical nurse, you will always have to work under the direction of senior medical staff like dentists, registered nurses or physicians.

Your responsibilities will always depend on what your supervisor wants you to but should never infringe on your licensing board’s code of conduct. The upper scope of operation will always vary depending on your training regardless of your licensing board or the state you are operating in. It is ethical to stay away from what you weren’t officially trained to do regardless of how much you’ve seen a higher qualified caregiver or physician do it.

Licensed practical nurses have a dynamic scope of operation that more often than not calls on ethics and self-control to implement. This coupled with the fact that nursing draws deeply from the desire to help others and the numerous certifications you can take on to widen your scope gives rise to one of the most dynamic careers for anyone out of high school and hasn’t yet gone to college.

Start you Nursing Career today with Athena Career Academy. Athena Career Academy is located in Toledo Ohio.

Choosing a good nursing training institution that offers flexible learning arrangements without watering down on the quality of training is the best way to start your career as a practical nurse.