The primary responsibility of a Practical Nurse (PN) is providing care to patients under the directions of physicians and Registered Nurses (RN). If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a Practical Nurse, it’s important to first understand what a typical day in the life of a PN looks like. This will help you gauge if it is the right career path for you as per your interests and aspirations. You don’t want to invest your time and thousands of dollars in this course only to find out that it’s not what you ever dreamt of. Here are some job duties of a practical nurse on a typical day:
Start of Shift
A Licensed Practical Nurse shift is usually eight hours long whether it’s during the morning, the evening or at night. At times, the shift can be extended up to 12 hours due to a heavy workload. There’s a common belief that night shifts are more relaxing because patients will be asleep. This is a huge misconception because there are patients who rest for a whole day and become restless during the night. A PN starts the shift by talking to the nurse who was in the previous shift or going over the doctor’s report in order to know the patient’s current condition. An LPN would also have to go over review treatment sheets and patient’s records in order to understand the current stage of treatment. They will be advised on whether to collect samples for lab tests or deliver specimen samples to a lab.
Meeting with Patients
A balanced load is given to each PN regarding the patients who require extra care and those with less need for help. An LPN will assist with the patient’s daily needs such as changing clothes, bathing, and feeding. They will also be responsible for preparing patients for surgery and dressing wounds. Other duties involve recording the patient’s condition and monitoring catheters.
Monitoring Patient’s Response to Treatment and Medication
A Practical Nurse is responsible for documenting each and every stage that the patient experiences as they go through the treatment phases. This means that an LPN must pay close attention to the patient’s response to medications and treatment. Everything that is observed about the patient’s condition must be written down and the report given to the nurse on duty in a timely manner. This is why it is essential for an LPN to have strong communication and accurate data keeping skills.
Those who possess a licensed practical nursing degree are authorized to administer oral medications and injections under the direction of an RN, doctor, or surgeon. A PN must wait to receive a formal directive in order to provide a certain dosage of medication and sanitize the medical instruments. This as well involves giving patients the appropriate amount of medication at the right time and preparing all the medication administration materials.
End of Shift
A Practical Nurse may be needed to perform various administrative tasks after the shift. These tasks may include preparing reports, organizing patient files, and filing out health care and insurance forms for patients. Most of these tasks are not a strict part of a PN's direct duties but can be assigned by another staff member.
The typical day of a Practical Nurse can always change in a matter of minutes. This could be as a result of changes in the department or shift or a patient who is in a critical condition. If you’re interested in becoming a PN, contact Athena Career Academy to learn more about this amazing career and our online program.