The Scope of Practice for the Licensed Practical Nurse in Colorado

Scope of Practice

Many new nursing students, such as myself, find themselves put into a program that they didn't originally intend on taking. This was the case for me. Originally, my plan was to become a Registered Nurse and that was that, no detours, no nonsense...get my degree and get to work. Unfortunately, for some of us, some of our abilities may not be up to scratch (in my case, Math was my nemesis). Then we find ourselves, perhaps still going in the same general direction, but not exactly on the same path. Personally, I had no idea what the profession of Licensed Practical Nursing encompassed, and not until about my 5th week into classes was I told to search out the Nurse Practice Act for my state. So in hopes of making this more available to people, here is an outline of the Colorado Nurse Practice act as it pertains to the LPN.  (For further questions about the Nursing Scope of Practice in Colorado please see http://www.dora.state.co.us/nursing/scope/ScopeofPracticeInfo.pdf. Or the Department of Regulatory Agencies for your state.)

Assessment:

  1. At the direction of RN, APN, licensed physician,dentist, or podiatrist the LPN may;
  • contribute to the assessment of health status
  • Collect, report, and record objective/subjective data
  • Observe conditions, or change in condition
  • Collect data and report signs and symptoms of deviation from normal health status.

2. Identification of Health Care Problems:

  • Assist in formulating lists of needs and problems.

3. Establishes goals:

  • Contribute to setting realistic short and long-term goals.

4. Planning Strategy of Care:

  • Participate in development of written care plan.
  • Recognize, understand, respect cultural, spiritual, and religious backgrounds, beliefs, and needs/rights to choose.
  • Assist in identification of measures to support human function and maintain hygiene and comfort, and maintain an environment conducive to well being
  • Assist in assuring access to community resources
  • Participate in the identification of priorities.
  • Participate in reviewing and revising plan of care.

5. Implementing the Strategy of Care:

  • Carry out functions taught by an approved PN program.
  • Assist patient with ADLs; assist with personal care.
  • Provide direct care, comfort measures and emotional support to patients whos condition is stable or predictable.
  • Under direct supervision: provide care, interventions, and communicate responses for patients who's condition is complex or unstable
  • Assist with rehabilitations ( ROM, alignment and body mechanics)
  • Provide an environment conducive to safety and health.
  • Administer prescribed treatment and medication, except by intravenous route (IV certified LPN-see Advanced Educational Preparation) Perform IV therapy functions as delegated* and supervised by an RN.
  • Document perscribed interventions and responses.
  • Assist and provide reinforcement in patient teaching.

6. Maintaining save and effective care

  • Maintain a safe environment
  • Consult and seek guidance from RN and others as necessary.
  • Initiate standard emergency procedures until RN or physician are available.
  • Apply principles of asepsis and infection control.
  • Participate in development, revision, and implementation of policies and procedures.

7. Evaluating responses to interventions:

  • Evaluate effectiveness of common treatments and tasks, then document and communicate outcomes of care given.
  • Assist in the collection and evaluation of data.
  • Contribute to the modifications of the plan of care.

8. Managing practice of Nursing:

  • Assign duties to ancillary workers as specified in rules and regulations.
  • Assist ancillary workers to carry out assigned care.
  • Supervise ancillary workers to whom care is assigned.

9. Collaboration with other Health Care Professionals:

  • Share pertinent information

10. Advanced Educational Preparation:

  • **Complete Board approved IV certification course which includes a supervised clinical OR document completion of such from another state.
  • Maintains evidence (both LPN, and employer) of original documentation and demonstration of IV knowledge, judgment and skill.
  • Follows written IV policies and procedures approved by medical staff, nursing and agency administration.

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