What Does An LPN Do – (Top 30 Duties and Responsibilities)

Written By: Raymond Aguirre, RN, BSN, PHN, CHPN

If you are reading this article, you are probably considering becoming a licensed practical nurse or LPN. Perhaps one question you might be having right now is, “What does an LPN do?” LPNs are important to the healthcare system. Without them, the healthcare system will not function as efficiently. You’ll find LPNs in many settings performing various kinds of tasks for patients with a variety of needs. And in this article, you’ll discover the top 30 duties and responsibilities of an LPN. Hopefully, by the end, you can decide if this is a career path that is right for you.



An LPN (or LVN in some states) is a licensed healthcare professional who performs various tasks under the supervision of registered nurses or physicians. In all states, an LPN is someone who has completed a state-approved educational program and passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN). LPNs perform various types of nursing duties. The duties of an LPN vary depending on which facilities they work in and in what states they are licensed. In some cases, they may only perform basic clinical tasks. However, they may also be given supervisory responsibilities.


Working as an LPN can be tough at times, but it can also be very rewarding. If you work in a hospital or other medical facility, you may have to deal with long hours and shift work. If you work in clinic settings, you may have more regular hours, but you will still need to deal with patients with a variety of issues. Every type of work setting has its set of challenges. But if you can handle all of that, then working as an LPN can be a very rewarding experience.


Every state has a board of nursing that determines the scope of practice for LPNs. LPN duties can vary depending on the scope of practice laws and these laws must be followed. In addition to state boards of nursing, however, state and federal legislatures may also pass laws that govern how LPNs practice.


The scope of practice laws for LPNs varies by state. That’s why LPNs need to be familiar with these laws. What can be done in one state may not be done in another. And lack of knowledge of the rules is not a legally acceptable argument for breaking them.


LPNs work in a variety of settings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top employers for LPNs are nursing and residential care facilities. Hospitals are the second most common employers for LPNs. Home health services, clinics, and government agencies are also some of the most common places for LPNs to work.


The typical work schedule of an LPN varies depending on where they work. Some LPNs work in skilled nursing facilities or hospitals. In these settings, they may work 8-12 hour shifts during the day, evening, or graveyard shifts. Clinic settings tend to have more traditional office hours, which means a 9-to-5 schedule during the weekdays. LPN duties in clinic settings may also tend to be more administrative in nature. However, some clinics may be open on the weekends; therefore, LPNs working in clinics may have to be available to work during these times.


LPNs are indispensable to the healthcare community. But what does an LPN do? Read on to see 30 of the most common duties performed by LPNs and the skills required to perform them.

DUTY #1: LPNs collect data from patients.

About the Duty:

Collecting data from patients is one of the top duties of an LPN. The data that LPNs collect are crucial for nursing assessments, which are the backbone of nursing care plans that RNs create. This duty is so important that LPNs need to do it, regardless of where they work. Data collection can mean asking questions from patients or directly observing them.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To perform this duty, you must have good observation skills and be familiar with pathophysiological concepts. Good observation skills are crucial because patients may sometimes demonstrate subtle signs that need to be addressed. You need to be able to spot problems early to prevent patients from having bigger complications. That said, you also need to be familiar with pathophysiology concepts. You will have a more challenging time collecting patient data if you do not understand how their disease processes work.

DUTY #2: LPNs administer medications to patients.

About the Duty:

Giving medications is one of the top duties of an LPN. As licensed healthcare professionals, LPNs are familiar with the proper administration and side effects of various medications. They give medications through various routes—by mouth, by injections, or by the rectum. In addition, LPNs also have to abide by certain protocols when giving medications, such as checking a patient’s blood pressure before giving hypertensive medications.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To give medications as an LPN, you need to know about the drugs you are giving and the proper way of giving them. For example, you will need to know if a drug causes a dangerous interaction with another. If so, you need to bring it up to the physician immediately. In addition, you also need to know how to give medications the right way. Not all drugs come in pill form. In some cases, you need to learn additional skills, such as the use of a G-Tube.

DUTY #3: LPNs reinforce patient education.

About the Duty:

Although RNs and other more advanced nurses are the ones mainly responsible for providing patient education, one of the job duties of an LPN is to ensure that patients understand what they were taught. It is the obligation of the LPN to repeat the teachings that were provided to patients, if necessary. In cases where the LPN is unable to provide teaching, it is the responsibility of the LPN to communicate with RNs or their supervisors.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

The most important skills you need to perform this duty are good communication skills and empathy. To reinforce teachings, you need to be able to express things in ways that are clear and understandable to patients. Medical information can be intimidating to some, and your ability to simplify this information is vital to the welfare of your patients. It’s not enough to know how to communicate well, however. You also have to be empathetic to others. You need to understand and relate to their difficulties and fears to be able to reinforce education well.

DUTY #4: LPNs provide wound care.

About the Duty:

Many LPNs work in long-term care or rehabilitation facilities. Patients in these settings are typically older and have chronic illnesses that predispose them to all sorts of skin breakdown—pressure injuries, skin tears, and different types of ulcers. For this reason, one of the most common duties of an LPN is to provide wound treatments, which can include applying topical medications, bandages, and advanced equipment such as negative pressure wound therapy.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To perform wound care, you need to be skilled at applying treatments and be knowledgeable of the different types of wound treatments. Applying bandages and wound care products is a skill that requires practice. For example, you may need to learn how to use rolled gauze when wrapping a patient’s leg. It’s not enough, however, to know how to apply dressings. You also need to know the why behind treatments. As an LPN, you are a licensed nurse, and therefore, you need to know the rationale behind a patient’s wound treatment plan.

DUTY #5: LPNs provide supervision to unlicensed personnel, such as nursing aides.

About the Duty:

Not all LPN duties involve direct patient care. LPNs sometimes hold the title of charge nurse, typically at nursing homes. In this role, they supervise several nursing assistants. LPNs make room assignments for nursing aides, respond to their concerns, and educate them on specific matters when appropriate. In addition, LPNs sometimes give disciplinary action in the form of write-ups if the situation calls for it.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To perform this duty, it’s important for you to exercise good leadership and listening skills. Being a good leader means that you respect the contributions of your nursing aides. It also means knowing how to balance approachability and firmness. You need to make sure that nursing aides are following the rules, but you also don’t want to be perceived as heavy-handed. In addition, you need to be a good listener. Not only do you need to hear your nursing aides’ concerns, but you also need to find ways to help them out.

DUTY #6: LPNs collect various kinds of specimen samples from patients, including urine and stool

About the Duty:

Patients often have conditions or symptoms that require having samples for laboratory testing. For instance, when patients demonstrate signs of a urinary tract infection, they may have to provide a urine sample so that physicians will know the right antibiotic to prescribe. LPN job duties typically include collecting these samples. Why? Because to collect certain samples, LPNs may need to perform certain skills, such as catheterizations. Only licensed professionals, such as LPNs are allowed to do these kinds of procedures.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To perform this duty, you need to be skilled at infection control practices and be knowledgeable about why samples are being collected. Because stool and urine samples are biohazardous materials, you need to know how to protect yourselves and others from potentially being infected. In addition, you must be able to explain to your patients why you are collecting specimen samples from them. Keeping patients informed is a form of advocacy and is considered best practice.

DUTY #7: LPNs ensure that medical equipment is functioning properly.

About the Duty:

Ensuring the safety of patients and staff is one of the most important duties of an LPN. This means that they must always see to it that the equipment being used for patient care is in working condition. If they see something broken, they must follow proper reporting procedures to get it fixed right away. This duty might seem mundane but just think about, for instance, what a broken Hoyer lift or faulty bed can do. Broken equipment is extremely dangerous and can lead to serious injuries, if not death.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To perform this duty, you must both have good observation and problem-solving skills. Being observant will help you identify faulty equipment, and prevent its use before anyone gets injured. In addition, you also need to be a good problem-solver, because there are moments when you will need to fix things on your own. Having good problem-solving skills will allow you to troubleshoot challenging situations and ensure that patients and staff remain safe.

DUTY #8: LPNs call doctors and advanced providers for orders.

About the Duty:

LPNs spend a lot of time with their patients. Sometimes, they may notice that patients need certain medications or treatments. Since LPNs cannot prescribe, they may need to call doctors and advanced-level providers. They may be able to do this by calling doctor’s offices or using special paging systems to reach providers.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

Calling providers may seem like the simplest and easiest out of all the LPN duties on this list. But don’t be fooled. Carrying out this duty is a challenge even for experienced LPNs. It can be hard to reach providers sometimes. And when you do reach them, they may sometimes be difficult to deal with. Therefore, as an LPN, you need to be patient and organized with your thoughts. You need to be patient in reaching and talking to providers. You also need to make sure that before you call providers, you have a clear idea of what you are going to say. Poor communication will not only upset providers, but it can also prevent your patients from getting the treatment they need.

DUTY #9: LPNs coordinate care for their patients.

About the Duty:

It’s hard to define care coordination because it can involve many tasks. The simplest way to define care coordination for LPNs is when they perform tasks that help patients navigate the complexities of the healthcare system to achieve positive health outcomes. This can include helping patients find a caregiver at home before getting discharged. Or it can also be as simple as scheduling an appointment for the patient to get their blood drawn.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To perform this duty, you must be detail-oriented and have the ability to remain calm under pressure. Being detailed-oriented ensures that you do not miss anything important in the patient’s care. When you have patients with multiple healthcare needs, it’s easy to miss simple things like scheduling appointments if you are not detail-oriented. And because care coordination can easily get overwhelming, you must also be able to work under stressful situations to perform this duty well.

DUTY #10: LPNs provide follow-up visits to home health patients.

About the Duty:

Many people receive medical care at home. Typically, registered nurses are the ones who conduct the initial assessment for these patients. However, it’s the LPNs who see patients for follow-up visits on a week-by-week basis. Typical LPN duties during follow-up visits include checking vital signs, reinforcing patient education, and relaying any concerns about the patient’s status to registered nurses and advanced-level providers.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

As an LPN, the most important skills you need to have to perform follow-up visits include time management and good communication skills. Home health involves a lot of driving from one patient’s home to another. Therefore, it’s important that you manage your time to complete all your assigned visits. In addition, you need to be good at communicating with patients. A big part of home health is providing patient education, and you can only do this if you can convey information clearly and understandably.

DUTY #11: LPNs may be asked to insert peripheral intravenous lines.

About the Duty:

Intravenous (IV) insertion is a special procedure that involves injecting a needle through a patient’s vein. In some states, LPNs are allowed to do this if they are certified to do so and if they have an order from the appropriate order from healthcare providers. IV insertion is necessary if patients need to have their blood drawn or if they need an access point for certain medications.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To perform this duty, you must, first of all, learn and practice how to insert IV lines. This is a challenging skill that may require some time to develop. Once you learn it, however, you will be highly valuable at the facility where you work. It’s not enough to master inserting IVs, however. To perform this duty effectively, you must also be very familiar with infection control practices. Because you are dealing with blood, there is a chance of blood-borne diseases can spread. Being skilled with infection control practices protects you and your patients.

DUTY #12: LPNs perform intake and output monitoring.

About the Duty:

This duty involves measuring everything that the patient takes in (food, fluids, medications) and comparing it with everything the patient expels (stool, urine, blood). Intake and output measurement is a simple, yet vital task for LPNs because it helps in determining whether a patient is adequately hydrated.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

Performing this duty requires basic arithmetic skills and keen observation skills. To determine whether a patient has a fluid imbalance, the LPN must know how to subtract the intake from the output. Having more output means that the patient has inadequate body fluids. That said, it’s also important for LPNs to have good observation skills so they can accurately keep track of patients’ intake and output. You need to monitor every patient’s meal intake percentage, the number of times they urinate, the number of medications they take, and a whole lot more.

DUTY #13: LPNs clean and change tracheostomy ties

About the Duty:

Tracheostomies are openings in a person’s neck that usually has an artificial airway inserted into it. The purpose of tracheostomies is to help people with certain conditions, such as paralysis, to be able to breathe. Cleaning and changing tracheostomies is one of the top LPN duties, yet it is also one of the most challenging. There is a set of steps that LPNs must follow to properly clean and change tracheostomies. Not following them can lead to an infection or de-cannulation, which is an emergency.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

The most important skills you need to perform this duty include knowledge of the proper steps for changing or cleaning a tracheostomy as well as being able to remain calm during emergencies. Knowledge of cleaning/changing tracheostomies is the main skill you’ll need the majority of the time you have to perform this duty. However, no matter how skilled you are, emergencies can happen, and it’s important that you know how to handle yourself and stay calm during those situations.

DUTY #14: LPNs respond to patient emergencies.

About the Duty:

As healthcare workers, LPNs will inevitably encounter situations that are far beyond their control. Patients may deteriorate fast and therefore need immediate medical attention. As licensed nurses, LPNs are expected to know how to respond to emergencies at least through basic life support measures. They may also need to give a quick report to other emergency response personnel, such as EMTs, doctors, and RNs.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To perform this duty, you, as the LPN, must be able to stay calm under pressure and have good organizational skills. Emergencies can be stressful, and if you can’t stay calm and collected, you wouldn’t be able to help your patient. In addition, it’s important to be well-organized. You need to have a clear method for doing things because you do not want to waste a second during an emergency.

DUTY #15: LPNs participate in in-service sessions at work regularly.

About the Duty:

In-service sessions are short meetings where managers and supervisors provide training and education to LPNs. LPNs must attend these in-service sessions to remain up-to-date with the best practices for their jobs. In-service sessions can be about anything and may involve clinical or administrative matters. They are sometimes scheduled during an LPN’s shift. Other times, facilities may pay LPNs to come in during their days off to attend a mandatory in-service.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

Performing this duty requires the ability to take notes and an open-minded attitude. Taking notes allows you to remember the things that are being taught at in-service sessions. It’s not enough that you remember what you’re taught, however. It is also important to be open-minded because the things you will be taught at in-service sessions may require you to make changes to your practice as an LPN.

DUTY #16: LPNs may be asked to respond to health department requests for information.

About the Duty:

Healthcare is a highly regulated industry. It’s not uncommon for health department officials to survey the facilities where LPNs work. Therefore, LPN job duties typically include responding to questions or documentation requests from health departments. This duty must be taken seriously. Not responding to health department requests can carry significant fines and penalties for healthcare facilities.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

Performing this duty requires good communication skills and the ability to work with a team. When health departments question LPNs, it’s usually because there is a survey going on or there is a complaint from a patient or family about the facility. Good communication skills ensure that you provide only the most truthful and concise information to health officials. It’s important to remember, however, that you are not alone in facing health officials. You have the whole facility behind you and you must be able to work with everyone to ensure that issues are resolved properly and that your facility does not get penalized.

DUTY #17: LPNs may participate in research projects.

About the Duty:

Some LPNs may find themselves working for research institutions. In these settings, they may have to give medications, administer injections, and monitor patients’ conditions. LPNs may also need to communicate with researchers and provide important information about a patient’s progress.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To perform this duty, you must be good at performing clinical skills (i.e. giving medications) and have keen assessment skills. Giving treatments is expected and therefore, you have to be competent in properly administering these treatments, which may be expensive and difficult to replace. In addition, you have to be good at monitoring your patients because you need to provide helpful data for researchers. Every little change you note in the patient may be important, which is why you need to have the ability to note these changes in your patients.

DUTY #18: LPNs participate in facilities’ quality improvement projects.

About the Duty:

In healthcare, there is always room for improvement. And improvement comes only when the people who are actively engaged in patient care are providing valuable insight. As clinicians, LPNs are expected to speak up whenever management personnel asks for input on how to improve quality measures at a facility. Doing this requires that LPNs attend meetings or symposiums with facility leaders.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

Performing this duty involves being observant and proactive. Good observational skills will help you identify areas of improvement at your facility. Some issues may not be so obvious, and your keen eye will help elevate the quality of care at your facility. In addition, you also need to be proactive. As the common saying goes, “If you see something, say something.” Don’t just stand on the sidelines when you see a problem. Do something by speaking up to higher-level personnel.

DUTY #19: LPNs mentor nursing students and colleagues.

About the Duty:

LPNs, particularly the more experienced ones, may sometimes be asked to orient new co-workers or teach nursing students who are doing their clinical rotations at their facility. Regardless of whom they’re teaching, LPNs who provide mentorship are responsible for teaching the technical aspects of their job and providing support to those who are learning from them.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To be a mentor as an LPN, you need to have good communication skills and patience. You may be good at your job, but if you can’t vocalize how to do your job, then you may need to practice your communication skills to teach others. Patience is also important because you need to consider that the people you are teaching are not familiar with what you do. They may make mistakes in the beginning, and it’s important that you respond to these mistakes with an empathetic, rather than dismissive attitude.

DUTY #20: LPNs provide end-of-life care.

About the Duty:

It’s emotionally difficult when patients pass away. But it happens. It’s a reality LPNs must face. When patients die, some common LPN duties include providing post-mortem care, calling the patient’s family, informing doctors and other members of the healthcare team, and disposing of medications. In other words, what end-of-life care means for LPNs is that they have to be the advocate and liaison for their patient. They must be the ones to facilitate the process of moving patients toward their final resting place.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To perform end-of-life care, you must be emotionally strong and empathetic. Death is an emotionally charged situation. You need to be emotionally strong to complete the things you need to do when a patient dies. Without that skill, you won’t be able to provide the right post-mortem treatment your patient deserves. In addition, you also need to be empathetic. Families may come at you with strong emotions, and you need to be able to offer them support.

DUTY #21: LPNs maintain logs of narcotics.

About the Duty:

This duty might seem too simplistic, but it’s important. Narcotics, such as opioids, need to be tracked to make sure that they are not lost or stolen. LPNs are responsible for making sure that no narcotics are lost. They do this by maintaining tracking documents and counting narcotics with their fellow LPNs or RNs. This is typically done before and after a shift, or whenever the situation calls for it.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To perform this duty, you need to be detail-oriented and honest. Being detail-oriented will help you keep track of drugs and make sure that you don’t accidentally lose anything. Losing narcotics can lead to grave consequences for you, including loss of your license. It’s also important, to be honest. There are, unfortunately, nurses, including LPNs, who have been charged with diversion or stealing drugs. It’s illegal. It’s unethical. And it comes with very stiff legal consequences.

DUTY #22: LPNs maintain an inventory of supplies.

About the Duty:

LPNs often function as charge nurses, especially in skilled nursing facilities. One of the tasks they must do as charge nurses are to ensure that their station has all the supplies it needs. This can include toiletries, medicine cups, papers for the nursing station’s printer, and more. LPNs are not usually the ones contacting suppliers to get these supplies. Typically, there is a designated person that manages a facility’s supplies. However, LPNs are the ones monitoring what’s needed in their station and contacting the central supply personnel about what they need.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

Performing this duty requires you to be observant as well as organized. It’s important to have good observational skills because it helps you identify what your nursing station needs. In addition, you need to be organized when maintaining inventory. It’s easy to lose track of supplies and you may need to come up with logs to ensure that you are up to speed with whatever your station needs.

DUTY #23: LPNs may provide range-of-motion exercises for poorly mobile patients.

About the Duty:

Some patients may be unable to move, perhaps because of a chronic debilitating disease or because they just went through surgery. These patients need assistance with exercising their arms, legs, and other joints to avoid muscle wasting and other complications of poor mobility. LPNs may be the ones asked to perform these so-called range-of-motion exercises. These are standardized sets of exercises that they typically learn as part of their nurse training program.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To perform this duty, LPNs need to be familiar with how to perform range-of-motion exercises and have good communication skills. This may require them to review information they learned in school because range-of-motion exercises are typically taught in nursing fundamentals courses. In addition, you need to have good communication skills to facilitate exercise sessions with patients. Communicating what you’re doing and what patients need to do during exercise sessions plays a big part in preventing injuries and enhancing patient safety.

DUTY #24: LPNs administer immunizations.

About the Duty:

LPNs routinely administer injections to their patients. This can include flu, COVID, and meningococcal vaccines, among many other things. In addition, LPNs also educate their patients on the purpose and the side effects of these immunizations. They also hold patients for about 15-30 minutes after vaccinating them to see if they may have adverse reactions to certain shots. Lastly, LPNs also fill out patients’ vaccination records as patients may need this to show to their employers or schools.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To give immunizations, you, as the LPN, need to be skilled at giving injections and be knowledgeable about the purpose of the shots you’re giving. Many vaccines are given through the muscle and there is a particular technique you need to use to do this properly. You will learn this as you go through LPN school. In addition, you need to be familiar with the purpose of the shot you are giving. Patients are sometimes anxious when they need to get shots, so you need to be able to explain what they are getting.

DUTY #25: LPNs may aid patients with activities of daily living.

About the Duty:

LPNs, at times, may need to help patients perform basic tasks such as bathing, dressing, and feeding. Although there are nursing aides who can complete these tasks, LPNs may need to do it too when there are staffing shortages or if patients require extra supervision and care, depending on the severity of their condition.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

The most important skills LPNs need to perform this duty include awareness of safety protocols and an ability to communicate well with patients. Helping patients with their activities of daily living is more than simply putting on their clothes or bathing them. Injuries can occur during these activities, so it is important that you know how to prevent falls, skin tears, and other things that may be harmful to a patient. That said, you need to be skilled at communicating with your patients when helping them with their care. This duty requires that you communicate what you need them to do while also listening to their preferences.

DUTY #26: LPNs must take continuing education.

About the Duty:

Taking continuing education classes is one of the most common LPN duties. All LPNs must always stay informed of the latest best practices in their profession, so they need to sign up for seminars, online courses, and certification programs that can either teach them new skills or update their knowledge of older skills. In addition, continuing education is needed to maintain an LPN’s license

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

Performing this duty requires having a thirst for knowledge and being aware of one’s licensure renewal requirements. One of the most important reasons to take continuing education classes is to maintain your license. That means you must know when to take these classes to avoid having an expired license. Maintaining your license shouldn’t be the only reason to take continuing education though. To perform this duty well, you must demonstrate a keen sense of curiosity so that you can learn new skills and remain relevant to your profession.

DUTY #27: LPNs must report signs of abuse or neglect.

About the Duty:

LPNs are mandated by law to report any signs of potential abuse or neglect. LPNs are not expected to investigate or gather proof that a patient is being harmed. They only need to have a reasonable cause to suspect that a patient may be in danger. If they do suspect abuse or neglect, LPNs must follow the chain of command to file a report. Failure to report abuse and neglect can carry legal repercussions for LPNs.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

The skills you need to perform this duty include being observant and knowledgeable about abuse reporting protocols. As an LPN, you need to be aware of potential signs that a patient is being abused or neglected. Some of these signs aren’t obvious, which is why you need to be very observant. If you see signs of abuse or neglect, you must be able to report it the proper way. Whenever you start a job as an LPN, reporting procedures are one of the first things you will learn during orientation.

DUTY #28: LPNs handle patients’ belongings for safekeeping.

About the Duty:

This is perhaps one of the easiest LPN responsibilities on this list. But make no mistake, it is also an important one. Patients lose valuable items more often than you think. When patients are admitted to a facility, they may carry some valuable items. To avoid any losses, patients may opt to have the facility store these items in a safe place. LPNs may be asked to provide safekeeping by putting them in locked rooms that only they, and perhaps their supervisors, can access.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To perform this duty, you must be good at paying attention to detail and staying organized. Being attentive will help you, as the LPN, in identifying any damages or other potential concerns with patients’ belongings. In addition, you must also stay organized. When patients leave their possessions with you, they’re trusting that you’re not going to lose them. Therefore, you need to be organized by putting patients’ valuables in places where they are easily accessible and less likely to be mixed in with other patients’ belongings.

DUTY #29: LPNs supervise patients in common meal areas.

About the Duty:

LPNs, particularly the ones who work in congregate settings like nursing homes, may be tasked with sitting with patients in dining halls. Their job is to not only make sure patients are receiving their food, but also to be the first responder in case patients choke. Choking is not uncommon, especially among patients who have chronic or degenerative diseases that limit their ability to swallow. LPNs are expected to respond quickly if patients do experience a choking episode by performing a Heimlich maneuver or, in some cases, CPR.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To perform this duty, you must be familiar with basic life support measures and have the ability to stay calm under pressure. Knowledge of basic life support procedures includes knowing how to dislodge foreign objects from a patient’s airway. This is one skill you will learn when you take a basic life support (or BLS) class. However, to practice this skill, you also need to know how to stay calm during an emergency. Choking episodes are emergencies, and you’re not likely to be helpful to your patient if you can’t stay calm.

DUTY #30: LPNs may make hiring decisions.

About the Duty:

LPNs are not typically the ones who interview and hire other staff, but in some facilities they do. Nursing homes, in particular, have a role called Director of Staff Development. LPNs commonly occupy this position, and directors of staff development are the ones who hire certified nursing assistants. Being a director of staff development is considered a high-level role for LPNs, reserved mainly for those who have years of experience working at the bedside.

Skills Required to Perform this Duty:

To perform this duty, you must be skilled at finding the best staff and being aware of the most current human resources laws in your state. Hiring others is more than just asking questions during an interview. It also involves having a good sense of intuition about whether a person is a right candidate for a job. This is a skill that takes practice to acquire. In addition, you need to be familiar with human resources laws, including verifying a person’s legal right to work, to avoid costly penalties with the government.


LPNs are valuable members of the healthcare team. But just like any person, they may make mistakes. Here are seven of the most common mistakes LPNs make and how they can be avoided.

MISTAKE #1: LPNs, at times, make medication errors.

About the Mistake:

Giving medications is one of the most common duties of an LPN. It’s also one of the most common causes of errors. LPNs have to give multiple medications to multiple patients on any given day and it’s easy to switch them up or forget to check for the right parameters when giving certain high-risk drugs. Medication errors can be dangerous, as they can result in harm to patients. In addition, it can cost facilities thousands (or even millions) of dollars in lawsuits and penalties.

How to Fix it:

You, as the LPN, are responsible for ensuring that you are giving medications appropriately. In school, you have surely learned of the “five (or six) rights of medication administration.” Take these rights to hear and apply them every time you give medications. Avoid shortcuts because it is during moments when you are trying to do things easily that you can make serious mistakes.

MISTAKE #2: LPNs sometimes fail to communicate well.

About the Mistake:

LPNs may sometimes forget to relay critical lab results or schedule appointments for patients. Because good healthcare delivery depends on teamwork, failure to communicate can result in poor outcomes for patients. Patients may not get the treatment they need or worse, suffer from adverse events.

How to Fix it:

To prevent harm to your patients and ensure they get the care they deserve, you need to be intentional in communicating with other members of the healthcare team. If you tend to forget things, make sure to write down a list of people you have to call during your shift. This small change can improve the lives of your patients and perhaps, even prevent you from getting in trouble at work.

MISTAKE #3: LPNs sometimes try to do everything on their own.

About the Mistake:

LPNs may think that to be good nurses, they have to be responsible for everything. This can’t be further from the truth. LPNs who try to do everything on their own are more likely to make mistakes because they’re overwhelming themselves.

How to Fix it:

Instead of trying to do everything by yourself, learn to delegate. Remember that as an LPN, you are a supervisor to unlicensed personnel. You can ask them to do routine tasks for you so you can free yourself to do other, more high-level tasks.

MISTAKE #4: LPNs may do things that go beyond their scope of practice.

About the Mistake:

The line between LPN duties and the duties of other nurses (such as RNs) is thin. Because of this, LPNs may find themselves unconsciously doing activities that go beyond what they are legally allowed to do.

How to Fix it:

Make sure you understand your scope of practice. Not only that, but you also need to be conscious of your actions. If something feels wrong or if you feel you’re doing something you’re not supposed to, follow your gut. Look up your state’s scope of practice and your facility’s protocols.

MISTAKE #5: Some LPNs don’t take breaks.

About the Mistake:

LPNs have busy schedules. They’re expected to complete multiple tasks during a shift. Because of this, some LPNs either forget or just decide to forego taking a break. This is neither healthy nor legal. LPNs are mandated by law to take breaks and they need breaks to give them time to recover from fatigue.

How to Fix it:

Make sure to take your break if you are working as an LPN. You and your facility can get into trouble with the government if you do not take breaks. You also need time during a shift to rest. Otherwise, your health can suffer.

MISTAKE #6: LPNs sometimes forget to finish their documentation.

About the Mistake:

It’s no secret that healthcare is one industry where documentation is abundant. LPNs have multiple types of charting to do on any given shift. For this reason, they may forget to complete one or several types of documentation.

How to Fix it:

As challenging as it seems, you, as the LPN, need to finish all your documentation. Having a to-do list helps make sure that you do not forget anything.

MISTAKE #7: LPNs may sometimes rush through patient care.

About the Mistake:

LPNs are caring professionals, but sometimes, due to having a busy schedule, they may find themselves rushing their time with patients. Doing this lowers the quality of patient care and creates a bad impression on the LPN profession as a whole.

How to Fix it:

It’s very important to learn time management and prioritization skills as an LPN. Even on your busiest days, you should reserve ample time for your patients to make sure that they are getting the care they deserve. This may require you to do other things faster (but accurately!), such as documentation and other administrative tasks. Just remember that as an LPN, your #1 priority is your patient’s well-being. Everything else takes a backseat.


This is the story of Sarah, an LPN at a skilled nursing facility who works the morning shift. Although she is a fictional character, her experience is reflective of a typical day in the life of an LPN working in a nursing home.


The night shift charge nurse and I are making rounds through the patients’ rooms as she reports on all of them. After receiving report, she and I count the narcotics to make sure everything is accounted for.


It’s still fairly quiet, but phones are starting to buzz. At the station is Johnny, the medical transport driver who’s here to pick up Ms. Gonzales for her dialysis appointment at a nearby outpatient center. I sign off some papers and then proceed to finalize my nurse aides’ room assignments for the day.


Breakfast is here! I have to check the food carts to make sure that every plate is still warm and that the food is the right consistency. I wouldn’t want my patients to choke!


It’s time to give medications. With 30 patients under my care, I need a lot of time to make sure I check every label. I don’t want to make any medication errors.


Some of my patients are up from bed by now, and they’re being taken by the rehabilitation department for their daily therapy regimen. I can now sit down to do some charting. It’s a little hard to focus though because the phones keep ringing and my supervisor is asking me to complete a few audits sent by the medical records department.


Lunch time!


My patients’ lunch is coming, so I’m starting to check my patients’ blood glucose. I’ll have to give insulin to them if needed.


After the morning rush, things are starting to calm down a bit. But there are a few things I need to tick off my to-do list. I have to call a few doctors regarding my patients’ abnormal labs so they can get treated right away.


It’s time to start wrapping things up with my documentation. There’s a quick in-service by the director and I have to attend that. After I finish charting, I check my medication cart to make sure it’s refilled.


My director gives an in-service about fall prevention. While this is going on, a nurse’s aide comes to me saying she needed some toiletries for a patient. I quickly page the central supply technician to give my nurse aide what she needs.


A patient’s daughter comes to the station, voicing her concerns about her mom’s care. I listen to her intently and address her concerns calmly.


The mid-shift nurse just arrived so now we are going to do the hand-off report. By 1530, I’ll clock out for the day. It’s been a fairly typical day, but it’s not always like this! Some days are less hectic. Others are extremely busy. In any case, I love my job and helping my patients get better.


If you’re interested in becoming an LPN, check out these useful resources!


This website offers career advice and information about LPN programs. They also offer a salary projection and detailed job description for LPNs. It’s a rare website that’s dedicated specifically to the LPN profession.

AMG School of Nursing-

AMG is a nursing school based in New York. Although they also have an RN program, their blog features a library of content for those who wish to become LPNs.

YouTube Videos

Day/shift in the life of a nurse| LPN edition-

This video features Rachela, an LPN and lifestyle vlogger who frequently talks about her job as a licensed practical nurse. For those who want a realistic view of LPN life, this is a great video to watch.

7 reasons why you should consider becoming an LPN-

This video was hosted by Mercy Gono, a registered nurse with more than 1 million subscribers. This is a great video to watch for people who are wondering about the benefits of being an LPN.


Ask Nurse Alice-

Alice Benjamin is now a nurse practitioner, but she is a credible source for people who want to know more about being an LPN. Alice ascended the career ladder and was an LPN at one point.

Nursing Uncensored-

Hosted by RN Adrianne Behning, this podcast hosts different kinds of discussions about the nursing profession. The episode linked in this article specifically talks about the value of LPNs in healthcare.


Being an LPN is tough. Here are five challenges that LPNs commonly face and how you can overcome them.

CHALLENGE #1: LPNs may have difficulty managing their time.

About the Challenge:

The duties of an LPN might seem endless. Even days that are supposed to be “calm” and “normal” are still busy. For this reason, LPNs may feel like there’s just no time to get anything done. This can be overwhelming, both for new and seasoned LPNs alike.

How to Overcome it:

Time management is a skill you can’t learn in school or through any training program. This is a soft skill that you learn intentionally, through practice and experimentation. You may find that having a to-do list helps. Or maybe you’re at your best if you are doing one thing at a time instead of multitasking. Choose a method that works best for you.

CHALLENGE #2: LPNs may experience physical, mental, and emotional fatigue.

About the Challenge:

Working as an LPN can be draining in so many ways. Burnout is a very real thing in the nursing profession. This can happen due to the physical nature of nursing work as well as the stress of dealing with disease and challenging patients and families.

How to Overcome it:

When you are feeling fatigued, the best thing to do is to remove yourself from a situation. Take a walk, drink water, then resume work. Don’t try to ignore your personal needs. You can’t help your patients if you don’t help yourself first.

CHALLENGE #3: LPNs are at high risk for work-related injuries.

About the Challenge:

LPNs do a lot of bending and lifting in their jobs. This is why it’s not uncommon for LPNs to suffer back or wrist injuries. Work-related injuries can be serious, to the point that an LPN may not be able to work for an extended period because of them.

How to Overcome it:

It’s always important that you practice good body mechanics while working as an LPN. Good body mechanics are things that you should have learned in school. If you need a refresher, ask your supervisor for advice. Also, don’t try to overdo things. If you feel like you can’t carry a load, ask for assistance. It’s not worth getting injured at work.

CHALLENGE #4: LPNs may have difficulty advancing their careers.

About the Challenge:

There was a time when LPNs had many options for where to work. Although LPNs still work in hospitals, there are fewer of them now than in the past. Hospitals now prefer to have registered nurses instead of LPNs in many hospital settings. It’s unfortunate because LPNs have so much to contribute, but that’s the reality now.

How to Overcome it:

If you are an LPN working full-time, look into your company’s benefits. Some facilities offer tuition reimbursement programs for their employees to advance their education. As an LPN, you already have a wealth of knowledge as a nurse. You can take your career a step further by going back to school.

CHALLENGE #5: LPNs may sometimes feel unrecognized and underappreciated.

About the Challenge:

LPNs are sometimes the unsung heroes of the healthcare profession. They work hard and fulfill many critical needs in health, yet some people don’t even see them as “real nurses”. That can be demoralizing.

How to Overcome it:

If you are an LPN and have experienced being belittled because of your title, don’t let it get to you. Recognize your worth. Rather than be bitter, practice shifting your mindset. Learn to acknowledge your efforts. While you may not be able to convince everyone to appreciate you, know that many of the patients whose lives you help improve certainly do.


So, what does an LPN do? A lot! We hope that by going through a list of the top 30 duties and responsibilities of an LPN, you have more clarity if this is the right career for you. As you may have concluded yourself, it is not easy to be an LPN. There are challenges that you have to be willing to overcome if you want to become an LPN. However, it is a good career path. Not only do you open a wide array of opportunities, but you also get to serve your community and improve the lives of others.


1. Are LPN Duties Stressful?

LPN duties can be stressful. However, there are ways to manage stress. If you wish to pursue this career, you have to learn different strategies on how you can overcome a stressful situation.

2. What Are The 3 Most Common Daily Duties Of An LPN?

LPNs are typically expected to do the following duties the most:

• Give medications
• Collect data from patients
• Perform wound care

3. What Are The 3 Least Common LPN Duties?

The three least common LPN duties include:

• Making hiring decisions
• Participating in quality improvement projects
• Maintaining supply inventories

4. What Are The 3 Most Stressful LPN Duties?

What one LPN defines as stressful may not be the same as another LPN, so it’s difficult to identify the three most stressful duties of an LPN.

However, there are three duties that can be quite physically and mentally taxing and these are:

• Filling out a lot of documentation
• Responding to health departments
• Assisting with activities of daily living

5. What Are The 3 Least Stressful LPN Duties?

Stress is a subjective matter, so the least stressful LPN duties listed below are subjective:

• Maintaining supply inventories
• Providing safekeeping for patients’ valuables
• Taking continuing education classes

6. What Are The 3 Most Fun Duties Of An LPN?

The most fun LPN duties vary from one LPN to the next, but these three sounds fun:

• Mentoring colleagues and nursing students
• Learning new things by taking continuing education classes
• Seeing patients at home through home health visits

7. What Are The 3 Most Mundane Duties Of An LPN?

These are perhaps the most mundane duties LPNs do:

• Documentation
• Responding to health department requests for information
• Taking intake and output measurements

They’re important duties, but probably not very exciting.

8. What Are The 3 Most Gross Duties Of An LPN?

LPNs may agree that these are the three most gross duties they do:

• Collecting urine and stool samples
• Performing post-mortem care at the end-of-life
• Cleaning tracheostomy ties

9. What Are The 3 Easiest LPN Job Duties?

The three easiest duties LPNs do may include:

• Attending in-service sessions
• Keeping patients’ valuables safe
• Supervising patients in common meal areas

10. What Are The 3 Most Challenging LPN Job Duties?

LPNs may have differing opinions, but these are perhaps the three most challenging LPN duties:

• Reporting abuse and neglect because long investigations may happen afterward
• Making hiring decisions
• Coordinating patient care

11. What Are The 3 Most Time-Consuming LPN Job Duties?

The three most-time consuming duties include:

• Responding to health department requests for information
• Aiding patients with activities of daily living
• Administering medications

12. Are LPNs Happy With What They Do?

Not all LPNs are the same, so it’s hard to tell if they are all happy with what they do. However, being an LPN can potentially be a fulfilling career. Therefore, you can expect that at least some LPNs are happy with what they do.

13. What Does An LPN Do In A Hospital?

An LPN mostly works as an assistant to registered nurses in the hospital. Nowadays, RNs are the ones who have primary responsibility for patients in hospitals. LPNs are just there to do tasks assigned by the RNs.

14. What Does An LPN Do In An Assisted Living Facility?

An LPN has more room for growth in an assisted living facility. They may serve as charge nurses or even facility administrators who make business and hiring decisions.

15. What Does An LPN Do In A Doctor's Office?

An LPN in a doctor’s office may perform basic clinical tasks, including, but not limited to giving shots, collecting data, and collecting urine or stool specimens.

16. What Does An LPN Do In A Nursing Home?

LPNs in nursing homes are typically the charge nurses. This means they supervise a nursing station, including the nursing aides. They also administer medications and perform other clinical tasks.

17. What Does An LPN Do In Home Health?

LPNs do follow-up visits in home health. This means they see patients at home, usually once a week, just to ensure that they are doing well.

18. What Does An LPN Do In A Clinic?

An LPN in a clinic does many things that LPNs in a doctor’s office do. This means they perform basic clinical tasks. In addition, they may sometimes do administrative tasks such as filing, answering phones, etc.

19. What Does An LPN Do In Urgent Care?

Urgent care LPNs may check people in and perform tasks assigned by the RN.

20. What Does An LPN Do In The ER?

LPNs now rarely work in the ER. If they do, it’s usually just to assist RNs.

21. What Does An LPN Do In The Navy?

LPNs in the Navy may become medics, which means they may tend to fellow Navy personnel who are sick or injured.

22. Do LPNs Have To Change Diapers?

LPN job duties may include assisting patients with activities of daily living. This includes changing diapers.

23. Can An LPN Give Meds?

States have different laws regarding medication administration, but generally yes, you can give meds as an LPN.

Raymond Aguirre RN, BSN, PHN, CHPN
Raymond M.E. Aguirre is a registered nurse with years of experience in the medical field. He currently works as a public health nurse and has years of experience in home health, hospice, and skilled nursing facility settings.