Organizational change impacts all aspects of health care delivery. The goal of this paper is to perform a detailed job analysis for the position of Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). The paper includes the description of the organizational change context and the way the LPN position fits into the organization. A detailed description of the job position is provided, including job credentials and physical requirements, etc. A proforma for the position is included.
Keywords: Licensed Practical Nurse, LPN, health care, organization, job.
Health Care Job Analysis
The problem of nursing shortages and the impacts of organizational change on nursing are very popular topics in research literature. According to Anderson (n.d.), licensed practical nursing is well-known for its noble history and a huge contribution made to the development of the entire system of health care. Unfortunately, not all hospitals and health care facilities realize the importance of the LPN position and the quality of caring services LPN can provide. As a result, a detailed strategy of organizational change should be developed to retain the value and motivation of Licensed Practical Nurses to provide high-quality services to patients.
With the rapid changes in healthcare delivery, Licensed Practical Nurses are faced with new professional challenges. The growing number of organizations has come to a conclusion that LPNs no longer play a decisive role in health care provision and have tried to push them out of their functions and jobs (Hendren, 2011). Health care organizations seek new ways to engage LPNs in additional training and education. LPNs are encouraged to become RNs (Hendren, 2011). However, not everyone realizes the hidden facets and possible negative consequences of moving away from LPNs to RNs. In our organization, an organized move was made to attract more LPNs. The organization has undergone a series of changes and restructuring to allow more LPNs work within the healthcare facility. Many of them will have a chance to pursue professional excellence, obtain training and education, and become RNs. In the meantime, the position of the LPN fits into the organization perfectly well, as it allows avoiding nursing shortages and, at the same time, ensures smooth and timely delivery of high-quality medical care to patients.
LPN Job Position Description
A Licensed Practical Nurse (also Licensed Vocational Nurse or LPN) provide assistance to physicians and registered nurses (RNs) in patient care. The main job duties of the LPN include: monitoring patients’ health; administering basic nursing care; providing patients with comfort and understanding; discussing health problems and concerns with patients; reporting changes in patients’ status to RNs and physicians; and keeping patient health records (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012). The LPN will also have to provide personal care and administer medications to patients, give massages and dress wounds, apply ice bags, compresses, and hot water bottles, observe and report possible adverse reactions to treatment, collect samples for examination and administer specified medications, as well as sterilize equipment and even record patients’ food intake (Career Planner, 2011). The supervisory duties may include overseeing and directing other unlicensed or licensed medical staff (BLS, 2012).
Supervision and work environment
The LPN is directly accountable to the Registered Nurse (RN) or physician. The nurse has to spend most of his/her work time on feet and even help lift patients, who have problems moving, standing, or walking (BLS, 2012). The LPN works full time on a shift basis, which means being at work on weekends and holidays, as well as days and nights. The regular shift is 8 hours, but some LPNs may need to stay longer.
Qualifications, credentials and licensing
The most common qualifications include education and license. In terms of the former, the LPN is required to have completed at least the basic accredited program of 1 year or more (BLS, 2012). High school diploma or equivalent is required. At least one year of practical experience as LPN is a must. The following is the knowledge required to take the position of LPN:
- Basic knowledge of medicine and medical terminology;
- Consumer service knowledge and skills;
- Ability to meet schedules and be punctual;
- Ability to use physical effort in daily practices, basically to lift and carry heavy equipment, materials, and patients;
- Ability to retrieve, process, and analyze information;
- Ability to communicate with patients and family members in a respectful, tactful, and professional manner;
- Ability to keep patients’ information confidential and private;
- Ability to pursue the quality standards established by the organization.
Additionally, the LPN is required to possess excellent interpersonal and human communication skills. The LPN must exercise compassion and care in his/her dealings with the patient. The LPN must be detail oriented to make sure the patient receives the necessary level of care (BLS, 2012). Patience is the necessary prerequisite for becoming LPN, as the nurse must be able cope with their own and patients’ stress. Of particular importance is the LPN’s commitment to continuous learning, as patients are becoming sicker and medical care is getting more complex (Hendren, 2011). The LPN must constantly expand his/her knowledge of the profession to ensure that the board finds a role for them within the hospital (Hendren, 2011). Regular training will help avoid practice restrictions that hinder the development of the LPN specialty. The LPN must be licensed.
It is expected that the number of LPNs hired by medical facilities will increase 22 percent by 2020 (BLS, 2012). The growing popularity of the nursing profession is justified by the rapid advancement of the health care system and, at the same time, the growing role of patient-centered care. The LPN has all necessary backgrounds to become a Registered Nurse (RN) by completing the required training course and obtaining the certification needed for this position.
The following is the proforma for the position of LPN. Each Licensed Practical Nurse hired for this position will have to complete this proforma for each patient admitted to acute care.
The proforma is to be completed by each LPN during the shift, for each patient individually and based on objective medical data and physician prescriptions. The proforma is signed by the immediate supervising RN and the physician at the end of the shift.
The current state of medical care requires major professional attention. Under the influence of organizational shifts and restructuring, many LPNs are losing their positions. However, Licensed Practical Nurses have the potential to reduce the nursing shortage and move medical care onto a new level of quality. This is why medical organizations are becoming aware of the benefits of hiring more LPNs to serve patients’ daily needs. LPNs perform a broad range of tasks and engage in a variety of organizational and medical processes, from monitoring changes in patients’ health to dressing and cleaning them. The exact scope of LPN obligations varies considerably across medical facilities. LPNs are required to have the basic training, experience working as a nurse, excellent knowledge of medical terminology and caring attitudes. Perfect interpersonal and human skills are a must. All nurses must be licensed. LPNs face excellent career growth opportunities and can quickly shift to being an RN or nurse supervisors, after additional training courses are completed and new licensed are obtained. Unfortunately, not all medical facilities can successfully define the boundaries of LPN practices; as a result, nurses experience confusion and cannot successfully cope with their workplace obligations. At the same time, Licensed Practical Nurses are required to pursue growth and continuous learning in order to meet the changing demands of patient care in technologically advanced medical institutions and healthcare facilities.