The nursing standards of practice and nursing scope of practice are rules and regulations for the given state, that promote competent nursing actions are being performed during clinical practice. Although LVNs and RNs work closely together, they have different nursing scope of practices. The nursing scope of practices promotes client and nurse’s safety, competent nursing practices, and quality client care (Henry. 2016). As LVNs and RNs perform their daily duties, the nursing standards of practice and nursing scope of practice are kept in mind to prevent harm, breaking moral and ethical principles, and legal actions. Both LVNs and RNs provide client care using clinical skills, knowledge, and judgement (Henry. 2016). However, an RN has more in-depth clinical knowledge and experience, and is able to perform more complex duties in comparison to the LVN. For example, the RN initiates and supervises the nursing process, developing client care plans, client teaching, and so forth. There are many differences in the nursing scope of practice between LVNs and RNs (Russell, 2012). Two standards that interest me are assessment and education.
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Assessment is the first step of the nursing process. This phase is a vital component of the nursing process because it is a continuous collection of client health information gathered by the LVN and RN. The information may be objective or subject data regarding the client’s medical history, family history, psychological history, and psychosocial history (Toney-Butler, Thayer, 2019). After the information is gathered, the RN will use clinical judgement and thinking to verify, analyze, and interpret the collected health information to form the client’s plan of care, develop a care plan, and to address other factors affecting the client (Toney-Butler, Thayer, 2019). RNs work independently while LVNs work under the supervision of the registered nurse and physician. Although both LVNs and RNs participate in the assessment phase, the RN is responsible for overseeing and supervising the entire nursing process (Mahuron. 2016). During the assessment phase the LVN’s role is data collection and assisting the RN collect subjective and objective health information. The LVN will also participate in client care and assist with the on-going assessment (Mahuron. 2016). The nursing process consists of five phases, assessment, nursing diagnosis, planning, intervention, and evaluation. Each phase is a key component to the client’s care (Toney-Butler, Thayer. 2019). However, without the efforts of the license vocational nurses and registered nurses during the assessment phase, the other phases of the nursing process would not be possible.
For inspiring registered nurses and licensed vocational nurses, there are differences in the academic requirements and clinical experience. License vocational nurse programs are shorter in length in comparison to a registered nurse program, varying from eleven months to two years. Enrollment requirements consist of a high school diploma or equivalent and no previous medical experience is necessary (RegisteredNursing.org. 2019). The License vocational nursing program will focus on the fundamentals of nursing, pharmacology, an introductory course to health care, and receive clinical experience under the supervision of a registered nurse at various facilities, such as long-term facilities (Writers, 2019). During clinical rotations, students are expected to perform physical assessments, injections, participate in wound care and medication administration. Prior to entering into a registered nursing program, there are a few factors to consider. Depending if the potential student is a license vocational nurse, meets academic and medical requirements, has earned an Associates of science degree, and so forth, the program may range from eight months to a few years. The registered nurse didactic curriculum will focus on advanced med-surg, pathology, and leadership management (Writers. 2019). Clinical rotations may be at acute facilities or hospitals, and over time the student will care for multiple clients. During clinical rotations, nursing students provide care for clients using clinical knowledge, clinical skills, while learning the standards of practice and scope of practice of a registered nurse under the supervision of the clinical instructor. Both nursing programs require in-class lectures, online courses, and supervised clinical experiences at various sites. After the completion of either program, the graduate must apply and pass either the NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN to be recognized as a license vocational nurse or registered nurse in their given state.
License vocational nurses and registered nurses both strive to provide competent care for clients. Yet, they have different roles, nursing scopes of practice, responsibilities, and may work in different health care settings (Writers. 2019). As an LVN transitioning into a RN, it is important to understand the differences and similarities of both roles and their nursing scope of practice and to be able to decipher between the two. The nursing scope of practices are implemented to protect clients and nurses by ensuring prudent and competent nursing actions. These rules and regulations separate the LVN’s from the RN’s responsibilities, allowing both nurses to perform their expected duties without confusion. All nurses are assigned clients to provide care by using clinical knowledge and abilities (Henry, 2016). However, RNs possesses in-depth knowledge, clinical experience, understands how to apply clinical judgment and thinking, they are most suitable to be assigned complex tasks and manage the on-going care for acute clients independently. Nurses must understand the rules and regulations regarding client care and how these guidelines affect both the nurse and the client. Nurses practicing outside their scope of practice may lead to negligence, malpractice, legal action, and harm (RegisteredNursing.org. 2018). As a nurse, preforming safe and competent nursing actions is not only in the best interest of the client, it will also ensure nurses are providing quality client care, competent, morally responsible, and perform ethical nursing practices.
- Henry, N.J. (2016). Nursing leadership and management: Review module. Stilwell, KS: Assessment Technologies Institute.
- Mahuron, S. (2016, July 14). What Is the Role of the LPN Compared to the RN? Retrieved from https://woman.thenest.com/role-lpn-compared-rn-1954.html
- Toney-Butler TJ, Thayer JM. Nursing Process. [Updated 2019 Jan 19]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499937/
- RegisteredNursing.org. (2019, April 02). Online Nursing Programs. Retrieved from https://www.registerednursing.org/online-nursing-programs/
- RegisteredNursing.org. (2018, May 29). Ethical Practice: NCLEX-RN. Retrieved from https://www.registerednursing.org/nclex/ethical-practice/
- Russell, K.A. (2012). Nurse Practice Acts Guide and Govern Nursing Practice. Journal of
- Nursing Regulation, 3(3), 36-42. Doi:10.1016/s2155-8256(15)30197-6
- Writers, S. (2019, June 03). LPN vs. RN Roles & Responsibility-2019 NurseJornal.org Retrieved from http://nursejournal.org/practical-nursing/lpn-vs-rn-roles/
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