Nurses Role of LVN

Nurses serve according to the many degrees of ranking recognized by nursing groups. As a result, distinct duties are assigned to these levels based on the nurse's talents and professional standing within the occupational culture (Claywell, 2014). Despite large variances in service delivery, the various levels are all significant because they all play an important part in patient care. As a result, the article focuses on the role of licensed vocational nurses, their scope of practice, and responsibilities in comparison to those of registered nurses within the healthcare team (Claywell, 2014). Even though the registered nurse and the licensed vocational nurse are considered to carry out similar duties in caring for the patients, there are marked differences in their scope of practice, skills gained, education and planning process that need to be considered in defining their work terms within any healthcare organization. As such, challenges may be faced due to the differential educational competencies presented and the hierarchies but focusing on patient safety will enhance effective collaboration.

Role of LVN

The licensed vocational nurses are considered to have been the shortest time of study with one to two years' program within a community college. After the one year program, they sit for a state licensure exam, and that helps them undertake their duties within the healthcare system (Naylor & Kurtzman, 2010). Their day to day activities are guided by the nurse's practice act that places their position under the supervision of a registered nurse. They perform the shared nurse responsibilities in performing various functions in caring for the patients as indicated in the nursing practice act. Mostly, they engage in primary nursing care with their specific duties depending on the setting of the workplace (Naylor & Kurtzman, 2010). As such, the monitor the health of the patients, administer primary nursing care, listen to the patients and discuss their condition, keep their records and report any significant cases to the registered nurse and other physicians (Naylor & Kurtzman, 2010). They are also known as licensed practical nurses as they assist in monitoring the medical patients.

Role of RNs

Registered nurses complete two to four years of study within a community college o the university as pre-service preparation. Also, they are needed to undertake a state licensure exam after completion to certify them in offering services to the community (Naylor & Kurtzman, 2010). They take the responsibility of practicing within the legal scope as they provide their services in different healthcare settings. They are authorized to practice as they focus on patient safety but only within their authorized range by the guidelines, policies, and procedures within the healthcare institution. They are allowed to practice under no supervision with just an adherence to the set laws and policies of the nurses' legal law (Naylor & Kurtzman, 2010). In this way, the healthcare institution provides them with the responsibility of compassionately providing safe and comprehensive care to the patients and families presenting with complex needs.

Comparison of Roles

Though both levels are assigned similar duties in caring for the patients, there are differences in the scope of practice; critical thinking skills, education and care planning. The registered nurses as compared to LVN have a broad range of training with six standards from the ANA list (Claywell, 2014). The licensed vocational nurses are responsible for performing the essential functions in providing comfort and care to the patient. However, those experienced can as well direct and oversee other LVNs and assistant medical staff. On the other hand, the RNs have the upper hand in coordinating patient care, providing advice and emotional support to a family member and their patients while still educating the public about different health conditions (Claywell, 2014). As such, their scope of practice is complex as they consult with other healthcare professions in making the right decision concerning the patients. They can carry out diagnostic tests and analyze the results plus add up to the plans on patient care.

Additionally, the Registered Nurse utilizes their knowledge not only in taking care of patients but in judgments to provide advice and support on how individuals are needed to manage their health needs through the provision of care and support in follow up (Claywell, 2014). They serve in collaboration with other healthcare professionals though independently, engage in other general functions of nursing and can also direct and delegate duties to other healthcare assistants and enrolled nurses as they supervise the activities of the LVNs (Naylor & Kurtzman, 2010). They are equipped with the necessary knowledge in developing comprehensive assessments, give interventions in their healthcare plan and participate in clinical decision making.

Challenges Faced by RNs Who Work With LVNs

The different levels of education that the RNs and the LVNs receive may hinder them from collaboratively providing healthcare services to the patients. The RNs may feel that they required leading, supervising and delegating duties to the LVNs in performing essential care functions. On the other hand, the LVNs may tend to rebel especially for those with a high level of experience as they view their services as equal and similar in many ways. As such, conflicts arise by their scope of practice and level of education (Walker, Olson & Tytler, 2013). However, based on the Texas differential educational competencies that differentiate the scope of care and the level of practice, it necessitates the essence of collaboration and focusing on the well-being of patients (Poster, Curl & Sportsman, 2011). As such whatever the nurses will do no matter their level of education will be imperative to ensure that it is for the well being of the patients, families, and community at large. The understanding of their professional socialization qualities will enhance their work as a team in ensuring success through the provision of care (Poster, Curl & Sportsman, 2011).

Essential Competencies in the RN

In anticipating to practice as a registered nurse, various competencies will be necessary and useful in the decision making process. Focusing on being a patient safety advocate, it will provide an opportunity to enhance the patient's right of self-determination while applying the ethical and legal principles. It exemplifies my understanding of a holistic approach to the well-being of patients and their families through advocating for their basic needs and using the relevant procedures to report and solve the existing problems through a chain of commands.


The paper indicates the existence of differences in the scope of practice between the registered nurse and the licensed vocational nurse. Education is considered as the care of the in differentiating the level of training that nurses perform. Some challenges are experienced in serving within the same health care setting since the LVNs may feel that their efforts fail to recognize and appreciated based on their experience. In this way, to enhance collaboration between the RNs and the LVNs, they are required to place their focus on the well being of patients to improve teamwork without having to focus on the hierarchical structure. The paper has, therefore, addressed the difference in scope of practices, challenges faced in working together and the essence of collaboration in solving the existing disputes.


Claywell, L. (2014). LPN to RN Transitions-E-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Naylor, M. D., & Kurtzman, E. T. (2010). The role of nurse practitioners in reinventing primary care. Health affairs, 29(5), 893-899.

Poster, E., Curl, E. D., & Sportsman, S. (2011). Differentiated essential competencies for graduates of Texas nursing programs. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 1(4), 45-49.

Walker, A., Olson, R., & Tytler, S. (2013). Collaborative nursing practice: RNs and LPNs working together. Canadian Nurse, 109(6), 24-28.

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