Skip to:

LPN Practice

Frequently Asked Questions

  • May a licensed practical nurse (LPN) receive and transcribe verbal and telephone orders?

    Receiving telephone and verbal orders and transcribing orders are activities often performed by nurses and appropriately included by many organizations in the responsibilities of LPNs. 

    • LPNs have the skill and knowledge to receive an order and transcribe it accurately for other nurses to implement as prescribed.  

    • Performing the activity of transcription is NOT considered delegating to others. 

  • May an LPN perform any aspect of intravenous (IV) therapy?

    In order for an LPN to perform IV therapy, the delegator (an authorized prescriber or a registered nurse) must first consider both the needs of the patients AND the knowledge, skill and expertise of the LPN, then decide whether to delegate IV therapy. 

    • Management of IV therapy requires assessment skills, knowledge, and judgment, as well as technical skills. 

    • If the decision is made to delegate any part of IV therapy to LPNs, adequate training and supervision should be provided to ensure the delegated functions are performed safely and competently. 

    • Clear expectations must be set regarding the LPN’s role in providing therapy, including what is expected in terms of:
      •  Observation;
      •  Notification of supervisory staff;
      •  Seeking timely medical intervention;
      •  Emergency procedures; and
      •  Resources.

    The Nurse Practice Act does not specifically authorize nor does it specifically prohibit the performance of IV therapy by LPNs.  The responsibility rests upon: 

    • the delegator who develops and implements policies; 

    • the delegator who makes the decision to delegate; and 

    • the trained and qualified LPN who accepts the delegation.

    Each individual nurse is accountable for the role she/he performs in providing IV therapy.

  • May an LPN supervise others?

    Supervision is not included within the definitions of practical nursing, but monitoring is an authorized function of practical nursing.  The legal definitions of supervision and monitoring are found in the Board of Nursing rules, Minnesota Rules Chapter 6321.
    Because nursing supervision includes delegating, planning, directing, and evaluating nursing practice, the Board advises nurses and employers of nurses:

    • An RN may delegate to and supervise nursing personnel. 

    • An LPN may not delegate a medical or nursing activity to another LPN or to unlicensed assistive personnel.  An LPN may direct unlicensed assistive personnel.