A registered nurse is responsible for assessing the health needs of the patient by properly examining their health status and the checks the patient’s response to treatment, provision of self-care, coping with chronic illness and the patient’s function related to the daily living. Together with the patient, the patient’s family, the healthcare professionals and physicians, he or she devises an individual care plan. The Registered Nurse evaluates the results of the plan and revises her plan accordingly.
According to the Association of Rheumatology health professionals, the role of the Registered Nurse is stated as,“The RN, in collaboration with the patient, implements a variety of interventions. These are designed to manage pain, improve function, maximize independence, provide education, strengthen coping strategies, and improve access to community resources. In addition, the RN administers, monitors, and educates about medications. The RN also acts as an advocate for the patient and family within the health care facility, the community, and the legislative arena” (ARHP Executive Committee, 2002).
The licensed practical nurses are also known as licensed vocational nurses roles vary from work place to work place. They mainly work under the Registered Nurses, Physicians and other healthcare professionals and perform tasks such as giving injections, observing patients, dressing wounds and administering medications. Their roles are ever expanding in rehabilitation centers where they care for the sick and the old. In other words, the licensed practical nurses are basic nurses, subordinate to the registered nurses. An LPN can further expand her career by becoming an RN later. According to the Health Career Center, their role is stated as,
“Licensed practical nurses are often responsible for observing patients, recording their reactions to medications and treatments, and reporting the results to the registered nurse or physician in charge. Individuals interested in becoming a licensed practical nurse should be intelligent, tactful, caring, and possess sound judgment. These skills, along with good health and physical stamina, are very important in this line of work. LPNs should also have a sincere interest in people and be able to maintain good interpersonal relationships with them” (Health Career Center, 2004).
The UAP, otherwise known as the Unlicensed Assistive Personnel are the assistants of nurses and work directly or indirectly for them. Since they are unlicensed and lack the proper training, they are mostly delegated under the Registered Nurses and help with the hospitality tasks for the patient’s basic needs. According to American Nurses Association, the role of the Unlicensed Assistive Personnel includes,
“…includes activities such as assisting such as assisting the patient with feeding, drinking, ambulating, grooming, toileting, dressing, and socializing. It may involve the collecting, reporting, and documentation of data related to the above activities. This data is reported to the RN who uses the information to make clinical judgments about patient care. Delegated activities to the UAP do not include health counseling, teaching or require independent, specialized nursing knowledge, skill or judgment. Indirect patient care activities are necessary to support the patient and their environment, and only incidentally involve direct patient contact. These activities assist in providing a clean, efficient, and safe patient care milieu and typically encompass chore services, companion care, housekeeping, transporting, clerical, stocking, and maintenance tasks” (ANA, 1997).
Therefore, the Registered Nurses are the most qualified personnel in the healthcare system followed by the Licensed Vocational Nurses and then by the Unlicensed Assistive Personnel. Their roles differ accordingly based on their qualification and experience in the healthcare.
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