RN working with LPN

Most healthcare facilities have both Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) employed, as well as medical assistants, certified nursing assistants, and patient care techs. Each individual has extremely important roles and responsibilities as a healthcare provider. It is imperative to become a team member and learn to work well with your co-workers in order to provide safe and effective nursing care to patients.

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As a licensed practical nurse, you may or may not work under or be supervised by a registered nurse. We all have graduated from college, taken many exams (including the board exam), and participated in tons of required clinical practice to become who we are, but there are differences in what duties we are able to perform legally. These differences vary from state to state. It's a good idea to visit your state's nursing board website to read your scope of practice and familiarize yourself with it. For example, LPNs cannot push intravenous medications in Louisiana, so you will have to rely on your RN colleagues to do this. Collaboration and cooperation are essential. We all must practice safely within our scopes and as individuals on our own skills and competency in the duties we are assigned by our supervisors.

RELATED: Can an RN Oversee a Licensed Practical (or Vocational) Nurse?

Sometimes this can prove to be difficult as tensions can run high, especially with high volume patient loads, nurse burn out, staffing shortages, and other challenges common amongst those working in the healthcare system. Conflict resolution will be key to handling any issues, personal or professional, between nurse colleagues. Nurses are professionals and should be able to work together to accomplish day to day duties, but they are also human. Compassion towards one another goes such a long way in our nursing world, as we sometimes forget that we all make mistakes or have rough days.

RELATED: Difference in Workplace Roles of LPN's and RN's of Varying Education Levels

Constructive feedback is sometimes necessary and beneficial for the entire crew, so we can prevent mistakes and further advance our skills as healthcare providers no matter which position we play. We should seek direction and assistance from the seasoned nurses if we are unsure or not yet confident in a decision to be made or skill that must be performed. We all have room to improve and knowledge to obtain from each other. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Utilize all the advice and expertise you can from each other to provide effective and efficient care to your patients. Every single nurse, regardless of the initials behind their name, will constantly be improving on skills, knowledge, and performance. Nurses will infinitely be a vital part of the healthcare system, as they are able to provide valuable education, encouragement, empathy, and compassion not only to our patients, but also to each other. Just remember we all have the same passion: caring for people. We are all in this together, one shift at a time.

RELATED: Assignment, Delegation and Supervision: NCLEX-RN

Amanda Bucceri Androus, RN, BSN

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