The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in the U.S. is one of the nursing professions that have been there for a very long time. This profession is, indeed, very noble as it gives a chance to the individuals who want to take care of the society. A job that a nurse does should not be construed to be easy; it takes a person with a ‘big heart’ to do what a nurse does. In the same regard, LPNs have been given the mandate to perform their nursing duties within their scope of study. This is to say that, every nursing option has its own scope under which the law expects them to perform. For instance, there is the Registered Nurse (RN), the advanced practice nurse and the Homemaker-home health aide. Each of these options has a jurisdiction that is different from the other.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (2010-11 edition), in order for an individual to qualify as a LPN, he or she, in most cases, has to undergo a one year course on the same. The training is usually done at a licensed nursing institution; licensed by the state or the board. The nurse should have done practical nursing hours as specified by the course. After the one year of training, the nurse should be able to administer certain medications. He or she should also be able to insert catheters and also help with pre-operative and post-operative care. These are some of the specific tasks which are part of their course. There is, however, a large area nursing that involves offering counsel to the patients. LPNs also educate the public on good healthy habits and ways in which people can avoid and prevent diseases.
The mandate of LPNs is within their area of study and they should use the skills, knowledge and judgment they have acquired so as give the patients quality care and also to ensure that the health system is sustained. The LPNs work hand in hand with the registered nurses and the registered psychiatric nurses in order to administer health care to the patients. Every nurse does their work with respect to the level of training that he or she has obtained. These nurses also work together with qualified physicians and doctors in administering health services to patients. Therefore, LPNs have an important part to play in the society.
Licensed Practical Nurses are found in the nursing board of the given State. In this regard, LPNs, in the State of New Jersey, fall under the New Jersey Board of Nursing. This Board falls in the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety. It is this Board that gives a nurse, in the State of New Jersey, the mandate and permission to practice the said profession. This Board is very important and its authority and usefulness cannot be overemphasized. The back stops with this Board, every decision that needs to be made is done in this Board.
Most of the legislation that has been enacted has been written, advised or supported by this Board and as a result, it is this same Board that is mandated to implement these laws. The nursing profession has a code of ethics that has been ascribed to it. These ethics are very essential in the administering of the duties in the nursing profession. A major code of conduct is the maintaining of confidentiality. This is critical in the nursing profession. Apart from ethics, there are also attributes that make this profession very outstanding. An example is dedication. Nurses are usually very dedicated to their work and in most cases; they offer their services selflessly without any bias or favor.
In New Jersey, the Nurse Practice Act is referred to as the New Jersey Board of Nursing Statutes. This Act is very crucial in the administering of services as a LPN. All LPNs in this State are controlled by this Act. This Act has the role of being concerned with everything that pertains to this profession. Everything that involves LPNs is found in this Act. This Act gives life to the LPNs and therefore, it can anything that entails this profession is governed by this Act. So in other words, the Act makes it possible for one to practice nursing as a LPN in this State.
One of the major roles that the Nurse Practice Act plays is the giving authority to a LPN to practice his or her profession in respect to what the nurse is supposed to do. The Act in New Jersey gives the LPNs the power to work as such and offers their duties anywhere in the State without fear. The Act states “The practice of nursing as a licensed practical nurse is defined as performing tasks and responsibilities within the framework of case finding; reinforcing the patient and family teaching program through health teaching, health counseling and provision of supportive and restorative care, under the direction of a registered nurse or licensed or otherwise legally authorized physician or dentist.” (Department of Law and Public Safety Division of Consumer Affairs, 2004). This is how a LPN is defined and as such the LPN is supposed to conduct his or her duty within the definition. If by any chance a LPN diverges from this definition, then the nurse is entitled to disciplinary measures.
This Act only allows a LPN to practice nursing as such and does not give power for the LPN to practice another health profession. This is a very important role administered by the Act as it will ensure that only qualified personnel are where they are supposed to be. This directive ensures that there are no quacks and that patients receive the best services they can get.
It is in this Act that the requirements on how to become a LPN are given. The Act gives guidelines on who can qualify to be a LPN and who cannot. This is vital as it keeps in check the people who want to join the profession. This check ensures that only qualified people are picked in order to pursue this profession. The Act outlines the minimum number of years a potential nurse should have. The Act goes ahead to give the number of years of training that a nurse should undergo before being given the power to practice. These education qualifications are specified by the Act so as to ensure uniformity with the profession. The education part of this Act is a crucial part because it has to eliminate all doubt as to who has qualified to be a LPN.
The Act has the role of regulating the subjects that a nurse goes through before completing the course. The Act clearly states that the subjects offered in the curriculum and the number of hours to be completed should be prescribed by the Board. The regulation of education is also an important role that this Act plays.
In addition to this, the Act has the role of regulating the type of examinations administered to the nursing students. There is usually a written exam but there can also be an oral exam or a practical exam or both. It will depend on the Board’s decision. The Act gives the Board the power to vary the examinations and oversee them according to the needs of the profession. More so, the Act provides other avenues through which a LPN can acquire a license to practice the profession.
The Act stipulates the amount of money to be paid by a qualified nurse in order to obtain the license with which he or she will be allowed to practice the profession. The amount of fees as stipulated by this Act varies depending on the type of qualification obtained. The fees for a licensee who qualified through examinations are different from the one who qualified through another means. This is to say that the Act gives guidance on the required amount of money that an individual should pay in order to get a license.
Not only does the Act give guidance on the fees payable but also on the title to be used by the license holder. It is in the Act that the title of Licensed Practical Nurse or LPN is given. The New Jersey Act has ascribed ‘LPN’ as the title for any practical nurse. This title could differ from other practical nurses in other States. This ensures that there is uniformity in this profession and nurses are able to identify themselves well within the law.
The Nurse Practice Act gives powers to the Board to certain duties that would ensure the smooth running of the nursing fraternity. At suitable times the Board will publish a list of schools of nursing that have been accredited or approved by this Act. This list would reveal to the public the institutions that aspiring nurses can go if they wanted to pursue that career. This list is important because bogus institutions may be out to swindle the public’s money if they had plans of offering nursing courses and yet the Board does not recognize them.
In the same spirit, the Act gives the Board the power publish a list of nurses that have been licensed under this Act. This is an important role that the Act plays because it makes known the qualified and recognized nurses including LPNs. This discloses the fake nurses who have been practicing illegally. This measure keeps the public informed and gives them the power of knowledge to know who to consult and who not to consult.
The Act, apart from stipulating the curricula in nursing schools, it also sets the standards that these schools must attain in order for them to be credited. These standards are set by the Board and will be determined by a number of factors, such as market demand and availability of resources. The same Act gives guidance as to how a school can be accredited.
Again, the Board will have to conduct a thorough investigation into that school before giving the school the sought after accreditation. The Board will then continue with its investigations once the accreditation has been offered so as to ensure that the standards are upheld.
An important role that the Act executes is the revocation and suspension of licenses. The Nurse Practice Act gives a decree that a LPN’s license can be revoked or suspended when the nurse contradicts the Act. The Act should be followed at all times and whenever that is not done, the same Act has the power to revoke a nurse’s license. The Act even stipulates the amount of money a nurse should pay as penalty in case an offense has been committed.
By and large, the Act has the role of ensuring that the standards of nursing in the State of New Jersey are not compromised by those of other States. For a LPN from another State to come and work in New Jersey, the Board has to ensure his or her certification is equivalent to that of New Jersey LPNs.
Finally, the Nurse Practice Act in New Jersey has been very instrumental in the affairs of the nursing profession. This Act has enabled the nursing profession to run smoothly because of the checks and balances that it has created. This Act has very good laws that moderate the activities of nurses. LPNs alike have their own laws that specify how they should conduct their business. Plus, the Act has created a Board that oversees all the legislation that concerns the nursing profession in this State. This Board plays a major role in regulating the standards of nursing in this State.
It is in the Act that LPNs have been given the power to work as such. The Act defines the various types of nurses and what they should be doing. It is this Act that defines the guidelines to the standards of nursing. From the kinds of subjects offered in nursing schools to the type of examinations administered to the students, all these details are defined in the Act. The role of this Act cannot be underestimated because without it, there could be havoc in the health department.
The licenses that nurses receive are usually given by the power of this Act. It is this Act that has been given that role of assigning licenses to qualified personnel. Without such a mechanism, it would be difficult to know which nurse is certified to perform his or her duties. The Nurse Practice Act, therefore, cannot be underrated because of its immense value. The fact that the Act creates a fair level operating ground should not be overlooked. This Act eliminates fake nursing schools as well as under qualified nurses.