LPNs are REAL Nurses

LPNs are REAL Nurses

This weekend, I made the early morning trek to Starbucks to indulge in my favorite seasonal pick-me-up. While sitting at a table, I glanced and noticed a small group of nursing students. It was clear that they were taking a short break from studying what appeared to be the Foundations of Nursing Practice. Within that moment, I reflected back on my time as an undergraduate nursing student. Thoughts of weekly eight a.m. study sessions with friends imprinted my mind. At those same tables, for hours, we sipped coffee, made notecards, and created care plans. For a little while, those memories invoked an internal smile.

Since I was an earshot away, I overheard their entire conversation. Seemingly, topics ranged from lectures to clinical experiences. Afterward, their discussion began to steer towards something much more concerning. One of the students shared that she interacted with LPN students from a local community college at her clinical site. Admittedly, the earlier statement sounds benign, but her delivery was bathed in arrogance. Then, with sheer disregard, she expressed, “I do not understand why they are going to a nursing school to become an LPN because they are not real nurses.”

After hearing those remarks, I bucked my eyes and shook my head in disbelief. Initially, I wanted to confront the young students. However, my super-ego halted me from making an unwise decision. Because of her ignorant and brash remarks, I feel obligated to discuss that LPNs are REAL nurses too. Obviously, I take great offense when a fellow nursing colleague states that LPNs are not REAL nurses.

My reaction after hearing the student's opinion.

                                         My reaction after hearing the student’s opinion.

As a nurse practitioner student, I learned a great deal from LPNs like Becky Rhodes and Sharon Blackmon. For instance, during my clinical rotation, they taught me how to independently and efficiently manage office tasks. Most importantly, these leaders in the nursing profession declared that a specific title does not define the quality of the clinician. But, justly applying knowledge and compassion are the true markings of a top-notch nurse practitioner. Without question, LPNs like Becky Rhodes and Sharon Blackmon embody the title of a nurse because they provide incomparable nursing care and convey unparalleled professionalism.

Nevertheless, some registered nurses deem that LPNs should not hold the title since they have less clinical training and education. However, I strongly disagree. First, LPNs must pass a national licensure exam prior to assuming nursing responsibilities. In my opinion, if an individual passed the NCLEX-PN, they have earned the title nurse. Furthermore, a governing nursing board can suspend or revoke an LPNs license if he or she engages in a disorderly act.

Although LPNs are under the supervision of an RN, they can complete many tasks.

However, it is important to note that the scope of practice varies from state to state.

In some states, LPNs can…

  • Perform procedures or treatments
    • Perform ongoing assessments of patients
    • Complete basic care
    • Take a patient’s medical history
    • Administer medications/ immunizations
    • Start/ manage IVs
    • Complete dressing changes
  • Assume independent care of the sub-acutely ill or chronically ill patients
  • Assist the RN in the care of an acutely ill patient

LPNs are a fundamental part of the nursing workforce. Moreover, it is imperative that RNs should not initiate a caste system to stratify whether an LPN warrants the title of nurse. Frankly, it is demeaning and insensitive. I am sure that Florence Nightingale would not want nurses to embody those qualities.

 

Thanks for reading this post! Please share your thoughts in the comments section. I cannot wait to hear from you!

Stronger Collaboration between RNs, Employers Encouraged to Reduce Risks from Nurse Fatigue

Stronger Collaboration between RNs, Employers Encouraged to Reduce Risks from Nurse Fatigue

The American Nurses Association (ANA) calls for stronger collaboration between registered nurses (RNs) and their employers to reduce the risks of nurse fatigue for patients and nurses associated with shift work and long hours, and emphasizes strengthening a culture of safety in the work environment in a new position statement. 

ANA contends that evidence-based strategies must be implemented to proactively address nurse fatigue and sleepiness. Such strategies are needed to promote the health, safety, and wellness of RNs and ensure optimal patient outcomes.

“Research shows that prolonged work hours can hinder a nurse’s performance and have negative impacts on patients’ safety and outcomes,” says ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “We’re concerned not only with greater likelihood for errors, diminished problem solving, slower reaction time, and other performance deficits related to fatigue, but also with dangers posed to nurses’ own health.”

Research links shift work and long working hours to sleep disturbances, injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, gastrointestinal problems, mood disorders, obesity, diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and adverse reproductive outcomes.

ANA offers numerous evidence-based recommendations for RNs and employers to enhance performance, safety, and patient outcomes, such as the following suggestions:

•Involve nurses in the design of work schedules and use a regular and predictable schedule so nurses can plan for work and personal responsibilities.

•Limit work weeks to 40 hours within seven days and work shifts to 12 hours.

•Eliminate the use of mandatory overtime as a “staffing solution.”

•Promote frequent, uninterrupted rest breaks during work shifts.

•Enact official policy that confers RNs the right to accept or reject a work assignment based on preventing risks from fatigue. The policy should include conditions that a rejected assignment does not constitute patient abandonment, and that RNs should not suffer adverse consequences in retaliation for such a decision.

•Encourage nurses to manage their health and rest, including sleeping seven to nine hours per day; developing effective stress management, nutrition, and exercise habits; and using naps in accordance with policy.

The position statement was developed by a Professional Issues Panel, established by the ANA Board of Directors. The panel was comprised of 15 ANA member nurses with expertise on the issue, with additional input from an advisory committee of about 350 members who expressed interest in participating. The statement was distributed broadly for public comment to nursing organizations, federal agencies, employers, individual RNs, safety and risk assessment experts, and others, whose suggestions were evaluated by the panel for incorporation in the statement. The new position statement replaces two 2006 position statements—one for employers and one for nurses. The statement clearly articulates that health care employers and nurses are jointly responsible for addressing the risks of nurse fatigue.

Source: American Nurses Association

 

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