What Does a Practical Nurse Do on a Typical Day on the Job? | Harris Casel Institute Melbourne FL
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What Does a Practical Nurse Do on a Typical Day on the Job?

what does an lpn do, lpn job descriptionFind out if becoming an LPN may be in your future

Are you considering getting trained to be a Licensed Practical Nurse? Practical nursing can be a wise career choice if you are looking for a shorter education program than that of a registered nurse. Many nursing schools offer practical nurse training programs that can be completed in about 1 year.

Before making your decision, you should think about the career itself. What does an LPN do? What kinds of daily tasks will you be responsible for? This article looks at typical day on the job for a practical nurse. As you read it, try to picture yourself in this career.

Because many healthcare facilities, like hospitals, operate 24-7, they need to have shifts that cover every hours of the day. Most shifts for LPNs are 8 hours, although some facilities have 12-hour shifts. Your shift may begin in the morning, afternoon, or evening, depending on your schedule.

Start of Shift: Meeting with the previous LPN

At the start of your shift, you will meet briefly with the LPN who is just finishing up his or her shift. You will be taking over responsibility for their patients, so you need to know what the previous LPN has completed and what still needs to be done. You will learn things like the patients’ diagnoses, what medicines they are taking, what concerns you need to look for, what urgent needs the patients may have, and any other special instructions.

Review Reports

Next, before you start visiting patients in their rooms, you will read over the doctors’ reports for your patients. There may be treatment reports, medication updates, or lab tests that may affect the care you are supposed to provide. 

Begin Visiting Patients

After orienting yourself to your patient’s needs, it’s time to start visiting your patients. As a practical nurse, you may do any of the following tasks during your shift:

  • Checking vital signs and monitoring the health of your patients
  • Providing basic needs, such as helping a patient bathe or get dressed
  • Taking specimens for lab testing
  • Caring for patients with catheters
  • Caring for wounds and changing wound dressings
  • Listening to a patient’s concerns
  • Updating patients’ electronic health records

Serving your patients’ needs will be demanding work. You will be expected to be on your feet all day. Doing active work and showing your dedication to your patients is something that can make this career very gratifying.

Catch up on admin work

Throughout your shift, or toward the end of your shift, you will also have some administrative responsibilities. As you work, you will need to document everything you have done, and as you are getting ready to go off shift, you will need to prepare reports to give to the next LPN. You want to communicate clearly what happened during your shift and what still needs to be done. Good communications are very important in the field of nursing.

After you clock out, be sure to give yourself some relaxing “me” time. As a practical nurse, you will be trained to care for others… but don’t forget it is important to care for yourself too!


This article was provided by the Harris Casel Institute in Melbourne, Florida. We offer training programs for Home Health Aides, Practical Nurses, Nursing Assistants and more. Contact us online to find out if our school can help get you where you want to go!