RN and LPN Practice Patterns

The Journal of Nursing Regulation (Kirsten Corazzini and colleagues, Vol 4 (1), April 2013) researchers conducted a comparative study of RN and LPN practice in assessment, care planning, supervision, and delegation in Minnesota and N Carolina.  Three factors were identified that differentiated practice:

1) the quality of connections between RNs and LPNs

2) degree of interchangeability between the 2 roles

3) and RN/LPN staffing ratios. 

Not surprising to me, the degree of confusion about scope of practice was an issue and LPNs find themselves in roles that require RN preparation and licensure.  Failure to differentiate between RNs and LPNs, failure to keep adequate RN staffing, and lack of team communication connections between the roles all “thwart effective implementation of nursing care.” 

We as nurse leaders,  educators,  and certainly nursing home administrators, must begin to rectify these issues in order to create better care for the burgeoning population requiring long term care.

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