Daily Routines in Different Areas of Licensed Practical Nursing

This post is dedicated to all you out there, contemplating nursing, new grads unsure of where your best fit would be, or seasoned nurses, who are contemplating change.

PLEASE NOTE: This is only my point of view.

Job #1 -  LPN at a Skilled Nursing Facility. I mainly worked 6am-2:30 pm, but would occasionally work 2pm-9:30pm. I would get there, get report from the overnight nurse, gather supplies for med pass (water, juice, pudding, etc.). I was then responsible for giving approximately 30-35 residents their medications i.e. oral, eye drops, blood sugar checks, insulin, nebulizers, creams, inhalers, etc. Besides that, I was responsible for dressing changes, urinary catheter changes, colostomy bag changes, and skin assessments (under charge nurse supervision/direction), if needed. I was considered the treatment nurse, so I reported to the charge nurse, but I could delegate appropriate things to CNA's. I am not very good at telling people what to do, so this was difficult, especially when certain ones thought I was just being lazy. In skilled nursing/assisted living facilities, you are also expected to help with resident's daily care (showers, grooming, transfers, toileting, etc). I don't mind helping at all, but it can be a lot on your plate, depending on the size of your facility, to complete all of your tasks, plus helping others do theirs. I was considered a flex employee, so I had to work a minimum of 4 shifts a month (2 being weekend), 1 summer and 1 winter holiday; I also had to float wherever I was needed.

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Job #2 - Reproductive Health Clinic Nursing; my favorite job! I worked 8:30am-5pm Monday-Friday. I would room patients, do mini assessments on what I thought the provider would need to do; set up supplies for annual exams (with pap smears), STD/STI testing, exams, colonoscopies, etc. I would collect urine samples for STD/STI testing, and pregnancy tests. I would do vitals, go through agency specific questions, vaccine administration, Depo-Provera injections, minimal phlebotomy, and rapid HIV/HCV testing.

Job #3 -Pulmonology Clinic Nursing. My schedule was 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday. I was responsible for returning phone calls, assisting with scheduling, rooming patients, and keeping the provider on track:) This far in my nursing career, all I really knew was reproductive health and passing meds, so I felt very out of my comfort zone. I had great co-workers who knew the area well, so I feel very fortunate to have had their help. I found this area of nursing a little intimidating-lungs and breathing are a huge area that can go south very quickly, and it is very critical that people are able to breathe! I feel extremely blessed to have the knowledge, but this area was not my passion.

Job #4 was an every other weekend/every other holiday part time position at a memory care facility. I worked 2:30pm-11pm. I learned a lot of patience (I didn't have a choice-ha) and 'tricks' of dealing with dementia. I find it extremely sad and fascinating as to the different stages, and how it affects everybody surrounding the patient/resident. This job did require me to be on call, which as I mentioned in my first post, I always second guess my assessments; not my favorite part of the job.

Job #5 - Assisted Living in a neighboring town. I worked 2 days a week 2pm-10pm and every other weekend 6am-2pm. At this facility I was responsible for passing meds, completing assessments (under RN direction), and notifying family/physician of any significant changes. Here I never had to be on call-yay!

Lastly Job #6 - Assisted Living in the same town I live in. My work schedule is Monday-Wednesday 9am-5:30pm, Saturday and Sunday 6:30am-3pm, Tuesday-Friday 9am-5:30pm. On my weekends, I am on call 6:30am Saturday-6:30am Monday. To be honest, this is my least favorite part of this job and it is mainly because there are teenage people that are less mature working here, and if someone calls in and they don't have a replacement, covering that shift falls on me. The extra hours are nice, but I also have a family I like to spend my free time with. I am responsible for passing meds on my weekends and during the week, I am in office mode (ordering meds, contacting doctors, scheduling appointments, assessments(under direction and supervision of RN), putting new orders in the computer, filing incident reports, training staff, etc.

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To everyone out there looking for a LPN's perspective, here are my final thoughts. I've never worked in ER/hospital, but I feel those areas are for people who like adrenaline rush and unpredictable shifts. For the ones who like variety and geriatrics, nursing home/assisted living facilities is what I would suggest. These 2 areas are better pay but less flexibility and seem to be most demanding. Those of you , like me, who thrive best with routine, low incidents of emergency situations, and enjoy weekends/holidays off, I would encourage clinic nursing. There are tons of specialties to choose from; a downfall though, is pay-rightfully so, less critical patients. I know there are tons of other areas LPN's can work in, but these are just the areas I have personal experience in.

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Sami Aakhus

Sami Aakhus, is a 2007 LPN graduate of Northland Community and Technical college in East Grand Forks, MN. She currently works at an assisted living facility in Red Lake Falls, MN. She has previous experience in skilled nursing homes, reproductive health clinic nursing, memory care, and pulmonary clinic nursing. She keeps busy outside of work with her husband, 2 kids, and 2 dogs.