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The primary function of a licensed practical nurse, or an LPN, is to provide nursing care under the direct supervision of a registered nurse or medical doctor. These highly-trained nursing professionals offer greater patient support than a Certified Nursing Assistant; however, they aren’t legally allowed to perform certain tasks. As an LPN you can be employed in a wide array of medical facilities ñ ranging from large hospitals to home healthcare settings. However, one of the most in-demand employment options for recent LPN graduates and experienced professionals is working within a doctor’s office ñ also referred to as an outpatient clinic.
LPN Outpatient Clinic Job Duties
An an LPN within an outpatient clinic, which is typically a standard general practitioner doctor’s office, you’ll be tasked with a wide array of duties that range from greeting patients to assisting a physician with treatments and check-ups. If you work within a primary-care clinic, you’ll be tasked with working with patients of all ages. However, you can also work with specific types of patients by being employed with a pediatric clinic, or a specialty clinic, such as an Ear Nose Throat physician.
Although your daily tasks can vary based upon who you’re employed by, your typical day will involve giving immunizations to children and adults, performing routine lab tests on patients are assisting a physician during physical examinations, such as a pelvic exam for a pregnant patient. If you work within a specialty clinic, your tasks will be determined by the type of patients the physician sees. For example, if you work in a wound care clinic, you may be required to perform complex bandage changes and wound cleaning.
Regardless of the type of outpatient clinic you’re employed with, your primary job duty involves supporting the primary physician. As an LPN, you may be charged with the responsibility of collecting/gathering equipment for a specific procedure and subsequently assisting in the procedure or examination. This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about specific treatments and procedures. This knowledge can then be utilized later in your career if you decide to enhance your education and become a registered nurse.
As an LPN, you’re typically charged with the task of collecting specimens for lab tests. This can include collecting urine, feces or engaging in various phlebotomy duties to gather blood for important tests. Of course, you’ll typically be required to perform more basic-level duties, such as gathering and recording patient vital signs and collecting surface-level information regarding why the patient is visiting the clinic.
During the peak of World War 2, the United States experienced a shortage of effective nurses. To remedy this situation, the medical community created an additional role within the medical field ñ a Licensed Practical Nurse, also referred to as an LPN. These nursing professionals were originally trained to work as bedside nurses primarily in hospital settings. However, throughout the past several decades, the scope of practice and abilities an LPN can perform has greatly enhanced. When we look at the modern LPN industry, these professionals are able to perform almost the same duties as a Registered Nurse (RN).
Within the realm of the nursing process, an LPN features several distinct roles. However, one of the most important of these roles is the role of a clinician. Most people consider this the primary pillar of nursing care. In fact, many professionals regard LPNs as the eyes and ears of physicians and registered nurses. As a diligent LPN, you must provide ongoing assessment that is not only thorough but accurate. In addition to the standard duties of an LPN, such as assessing and monitoring patients, an LPN is also responsible for overseeing the administration of medications as well as ensuring all wound dressings are regularly changed. Throughout this article, were going to delve into the various aspects of what it means to be a clinician within the scope of an LPN.
The Role of Clinician as an LPN
Many medical professionals refer to this role as the assessment phase. However, to fully accomplish this role, an LPN must do far more than simply assess. They must take action within the boundaries of their legal scope of practice. Some of the more detailed tasks an LPN will perform under the umbrella of being a clinician include: inserting and monitoring feeding tubes, perform sterile bandage changes, participating in the entire nursing process as well as taking the entire patient history.
This last part of the duties is among the most important. Many times, there are patients who have a sordid medical history and are on a host of medications. In order to ensure current treatments and patient care plans go as planned, physicians and other medical staff need to fully understand the medical history of a patient. As a clinician, the LPN will interview patients and fully review their medical chart. Throughout their conversations, they’ll be able to paint a more thorough picture. This picture is then used to construct a customized, and safe, treatment plan to ensure the patient recovers as swiftly as possible with minimal side effects.
— National Pain Assessment and Rehabilitation Association
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