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Practical Nurse smiling at camera

5 Important Roles for Licensed Practical Nurses


Licensed practical nurses are on the front line of the healthcare field. It’s hard to state in just a few words how important these professionals are in everybody’s life. They care for people who are going through treatment or recovery, providing crucial assistance to save or improve life conditions—a job that everyone must value.

Nowadays, there are approximately 700,000 licensed practical nurses in the United States. And the job outlook for the next years is very promising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s expected to grow by 16% between 2014 and 2024.

Common tasks for licensed practical nurses include assisting patients, administering fluids and medications, providing basic patient care, and measuring and recording vital signs.

What is fairly unknown by people is that licensed practical nurses have some other different roles in a hospital or care facility. The daily activities they perform can go beyond medical tasks, counseling patients and educating teams. Keep reading to discover five important—and maybe unknown—roles of licensed practical nurses.


As a licensed practical nurse, you will be constantly managing patient care, making sure the patient care plan is being followed correctly and evaluating its effectiveness. Licensed practical nurses can also be team leaders, and responsible for supervising coworkers.

So, if you are passionate about nursing, but would also like to be a leader, be prepared.


As a counselor, you can help patients and their loved ones deal with feelings and frustrations they have towards an illness. You can also be of assistance explaining treatment options.

Being a counselor requires you to feel comfortable when dealing with sensitive situations.


If you choose to work as a nurse, you probably want to help people and make a difference. Being an advocate for your patient implies that you will be there to support their decisions and protect their rights. Keep in mind that patients are not always able to fight for their rights, so they need someone there for them.


In order to provide the best care possible for patients, licensed practical nurses must also work as detectives. They must pay attention to every detail in the patient’s treatment and how they are responding. If a problem is identified, they will be the first to notice, so they must be fast reporting it to a physician or registered nurse.


As a licensed practical nurse you will be educating patients about their care plan on a daily basis. This is essential for the success of the treatment. Patients must be prepared for all the steps of the treatment and the recovery, so they can heal properly.

You will also be responsible for training and helping other nurses. So be aware that your role as an educator will be very important.

Of course, as a licensed practical nurse you will be playing a number of other different roles in the healthcare setting in which you are working. And that’s what makes this profession so interesting. The challenges will be big, but so will the rewards.

It’s important to know that licensed practical nurses work under the supervision of a registered nurse or a physician. For that reason, they can’t diagnose or treat patients without supervision. But they are essential to patient care.

To become a licensed practical nurse you must complete your studies in an approved institution. At Penn Commercial Business/Technical School we offer a 12-month practical nurse program that will prepare you to enter the field completely capable of providing compassionate healthcare and communicating effectively with patients and their families.

To learn more, visit our Practical Nursing program!