Why Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) Are So Important

The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is an essential part of the modern healthcare system, and can be a satisfying career for those interested in caregiving in a clinical setting.

The LPN has been called the “eyes and ears” of physicians and registered nurses (RNs), and is a unique and important role.

Read on to learn what makes LPNs so special!

Duties & Responsibilities

Licensed Practical Nurses assist physicians and registered nurses in hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare institutions in providing patients with quality care.

Under RN and physician supervision, an LPN performs tasks such as:

  • Measuring vital signs
  • Sample collection
  • Providing updates on patient status
  • Assisting patients with dressing, eating, bathing
  • Assisting with tests and procedures
  • Maintaining patient records
  • Measuring and administering medication

LPNs may also supervise any Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) on duty.

LPNs work on the front lines of patient care, and their primary responsibility is to ensure patient comfort and safety.

Hands-On Care

To achieve successful patient outcomes, continual and accurate assessment of patients is extremely important.

Licensed practical nurses have been called the “eyes and ears” of physicians and RNs. They often participate in more hands-on caretaking duties, like administering medication and dressing wounds, which gives them an up-close-and-personal understanding of a patient’s status.

The intimate nature of these duties means that LPNs are involved with the actual physical responsibilities of caring for patients. As a result, LPNs observe and interact with patients closely, which offers them unique insight into the effectiveness of care plans.


LPNs work closely with a team of clinicians – RNs, CNAs, physicians, physical therapists, and more – to care for patients. An LPN’s unique perspective and scope of responsibilities makes them a vital part of any successful patient care plan.

LPNs must be great problem-solvers. High patient volumes or acuities can create stress and require quick solutions, so licensed practical nurses must work well with their teammates in the interest of their patients.

Communication & Teamwork

Licensed practical nurses consult with their supervisors and teammates to help create a comprehensive understanding of their patients, so they must be excellent communicators.

While providing care, it’s essential for the right information to reach the right people. An LPN must be an independent worker within their scope of responsibilities as well as a great teammate, relaying any essential information to RNs, physicians and other team members.

Patient Care Plans

Many LPNs are involved in creating and implementing patient care plans. Because of their intimate involvement with patients, LPNs can closely monitor patient care plans and help with determining their effectiveness.

Patient Education & Advocacy

Because LPNs work closely with patients to carry out care plans, LPNs play a unique and important role in patient education and advocacy.

Some care plans cover topics that LPNs must explain to their patients in order for them achieve successful outcomes. LPNs often manage education for patients and their families, providing them with peace of mind and agency in the caretaking process.

When care plans prove ineffective, LPNs must advocate for their patients, supporting and protecting their right to receive exceptional care.

Compassion & Collaboration

LPNs must display compassion for patients and their families throughout the caregiving process, and sometimes act as a guide to help them explore their own feelings about healthcare and illness.

Sometimes, a patient receives an unfortunate prognosis or enters hospice care. LPNs are vital during these difficult times and provide transitional support through education and exploration of treatment options.

Career Growth Opportunities

The role of the licensed practical nurse is becoming more important. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of LPNs will increase by 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, which makes it the fastest-growing profession in the country, on average.

LPNs also have the opportunity for career growth. Many organizations offer LPN-to-RN programs, which are designed specifically for LPNs interested in becoming registered nurses. LPN-to-RN programs provide current LPNs with a more in-depth curriculum, allowing them to receive their nursing license faster than standard nursing programs.

Once an LPN-to-RN program has been completed, a licensed practical nurse is qualified to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse.

LPNs Thrive with GIFTED Healthcare

From travel to per diem assignments, GIFTED Healthcare provides LPNs with exceptional career opportunities.

Apply now to join the GIFTED Family today!

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