The paper focuses on the legal definitions of the Licensed practical nurses (LPN) and the registered nurses (RN); compare and contrast their roles in Minnesota that RN can do but LPN cannot. The paper will also try to explore the likely impact that these changes may cause…
Center of discussion in this paper are Nursing Practice in Minnesota. Healthcare services are making rapid progress across all parts of the US and so are the nursing practices to keep pace with that development. It becomes necessary to have more clearly defined responsibility and accountability norms between RNs and LPNs so that a nursing practice, which is considered one of the most critical element to the healthcare services does not become an impediment for the improved outcomes. In fact, not only Minnesota but all major states in the US are in the process of refurbishing their nursing acts so that healthcare services could make great strides and fulfill the aspirations of the patient. RNs and LPNs both are in the healthcare system since long in the state. LPNs begin practicing after finishing their one year Practical Nursing Program. In contrast, a registered nurse is graduated with a more intense 4-year nursing program. Though qualifications differentiate them clearly but in actual practice at many places their jobs has obscured demarcation line due to several reasons such as nursing shortages or economic challenges. The Minnesota Nurse Practice Act is in force to serve the nursing practices in the state. In 2010, The Institute of Medicine issued a report about the future of nursing and made several recommendations that nurses should practice during their education and training. Subsequent to this report and in view of the increasing complexities due to changes in techniques and technology in healthcare practices, Minnesota Board of Nursing decided to review the Nurse Practice Act so that the duties of registered and licensed practical nurses can clearly be defined. RN versus LPN – Role Differentiation As per proposed changes to the Minnesota Nurse Practice Act, registered nurse (RN) is defined as nursing practice that provides caring to all patients in any settings with or without compensation. The RN has extensive roles under Nursing Practice Act to perform. The definition differentiates from the licensed practical nurse (LPN) that carries out nursing practice under the supervision of an RN, physician, or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) as authorized by the state. The scope of an RN encompasses full or extensive assessment that includes biopsychosocial aspects of the patient. The roles that an RN is supposed to undertake can be described in brief as per the following (Minnesota Board of Nursing 2011). a. RN will perform a comprehensive assessment of the health status of the patient. Comprehensive assessment by an RN means collecting extensive data for an individual to ascertain the actual health needs of the patient. This also takes into account any change in patient's health condition such as psychological, social, spiritual or biological so as to evaluate the impact of nursing care in reference to the various alternatives available. RN will also determine if other team members of health care team is to be consulted. b. RN will develop an integrated plan of care in collaboration of health care team. c. RN may delegate the task to implement the plan of care so that it is effective and safe. d. RN will evaluate the outcomes of the interventions to decide about the effectiveness of the plan of care. e. RN is supposed to communicate and collaborate with other health care professionals to establish total health care plan in different settings. The RN is supposed to be aware about new techniques and practice them with full competency. f. RN will also have the responsibility to teach the theory and practice of nursing. g. RN will be accountable to Nurse Practice Act. They are expected of planning for managing situations that goes beyond the RN's expertise. Against this, an LPN will focus on the situation at hand. LPN's responsibility is to implement the plan of care as developed by the RN. It is not the responsibility of an LPN to develop a comprehensive plan and that purely rests with RNs. A focused assessment by an LPN is centered on appraising patient's current status; monitoring changes in patient condition; contributing to the nursing care plan; determining nursing interventions; ...
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