Registered nurse and licensed practical nurse (LPN) job duties can vary greatly. By law, RNs are required to oversee LPNs. This model varies by healthcare setting. For example, in a hospital setting, one RN may be assigned seven patients on a medical floor, have one LPN assigned, and hopefully a CNA who may be assigned three times as many patients. The LPN, in this model, would assist the RN in medication administration (not including IV medications in most states), wound care, and activities of daily living (ADLs), while the RN worked on care plans, charting, updating physicians, and administering IV medications. In a skilled nursing facility setting, the LPN would perform all the tasks mentioned except IV medications while the RN oversees the entire facility and all the LPNs working.
However, in many states, the role of the LPN in the hospital setting is getting phased out and not replaced. RNs are responsible for all the LPN duties as well as RN duties.