Practical nurses (PNs) work in a surprisingly wide range of locations and roles, and as a result, they have many different duties depending on where their career takes them. Although all PNs have a few core duties in common, it is not unusual for a PN who works in a hospital to have different responsibilities from a PN who works in a nursing home, and vice versa. Additionally, many PNs work in other less traditional settings than these, so they perform different duties altogether.
If you’re interested in a career as a PN, you should be aware of the specific duties you may have as well as understand the wide array of career possibilities available in varying working environments. Prism Career Institute, which offers a robust Practical Nursing program, breaks down PN duties and settings here.
What Duties Do All PNs Have?
The basic function of a PN is to provide routine care for sick, injured, or disabled patients. Typically, PNs coordinate with and assist physicians and registered nurses (RNs). The most common duties that PNs perform involve:
- Monitoring patients, such as charting vital signs
- Changing bandages and catheters
- Keeping detailed records of patients’ health
- Collecting samples for blood tests, urinalysis, and more
- Communicating treatment and health information to patients, doctors, and nurses
How Responsibilities Vary by Setting
In different working environments, PN duties may vary to meet the needs of the patients there. For example, here’s what you can expect in some of the most common settings for PNs:
In nursing homes, PNs provide care to patients whose conditions have stabilized and are expected to be in the nursing home long-term. PN responsibilities may include:
- Admitting new residents
- Aiding physicians and RNs during rounds of the residents’ rooms
- Supervising other care staff
- Performing health assessments
- Administering medication
- Helping residents with personal hygiene and eating
Home Health Care
Many PNs are hired to work in the homes of patients to fulfill their health needs or assist a physician or RN with a patient’s day-to-day medical plan. These PN duties vary and can include:
- Monitoring vital signs and a patient’s overall health
- Changing bandages, wound dressings, and catheters
- Assisting with exercise and rehabilitation routines for patients
- Aiding with medications
- Remaining on-call in case a patient has a healthcare emergency
Hospitals and Urgent Care Facilities
Many PNs work in hospitals or private clinics, where they support physicians and RNs. PNs are also needed in urgent care facilities to carry out similar duties. Their responsibilities may include:
- Taking vital signs, interviewing patients, and recording their health history
- Administering medications and IVs
- Maintaining patients’ charts and records and planning care to meet their needs
- Supervising nursing assistants
Become Prepared as a Well-Versed PN
There are a lot of job opportunities for PNs, and they all involve a variety of skills and responsibilities. If you’re interested in these PN duties, this career track might be right for you. Contact Prism Career Institute to learn more about the Practical Nursing program offered at our campuses in Cherry Hill and Egg Harbor, New Jersey, as well as in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Our program teaches all of the necessary skills to become a successful PN – regardless of setting – after passing your licensure exam.