Scope and standards of practice

Scope and standards of practice



Scope and standards of practice

The licensed vocational nurses work under the direction of the registered nurses. They meet the basic needs of the patients and they take care of the patients experiencing common health problems. The registered nurse and the vocational differ in the sense that registered nurses apply to use critical thinking in certain situations. The first standard of practice is assessment. While the vocational nurse will collect basic information and conduct basic assessment, the registered nurse has to do more than this. Registered nurses have to collect comprehensive data that includes emotional, physical, sexual, functional, cognitive, psychosocial, age related, environmental, and transpersonal, as well as any data she considers effective in the treatment of her patient (ANA, 2010). They involve the consumers, families, and other healthcare providers during assessment, based on their judgment of the situation. They are able to adapt to the existing barriers that may hinder their assessment. They are able to use evidence based techniques and other instruments to assist in their assessment. From their data collection and assessment, they can synthesize the existing information and identify patterns.

The level of learning of the vocational nurses does not require them to perform some of these functions. They can only perform basic data collection and perform low-level assessments. Some of the identified functions and roles that the registered nurses have to perform during assessment involve some level of critical thinking (Claywell, 2013). Through critical thinking, registered nurses are able to determine the point at which to include the health consumers and providers as well as any other person during the collection of data. They are able to know the kind of data to collect from different people. Their ability to apply critical thinking to certain situations enables them to identify the personal beliefs and attitudes of the healthcare consumers and to determine how such factors are likely to affect assessment.

Another standard is coordination of care. The registered nurse is involved in organizing the components of the plan of care. The nurses manage the care in order to maximize the patients’ quality of life. They have an essential role in helping the healthcare consumers to determine the best options of alternative care. They have the added responsibility of communicating with the healthcare consumer and other interested parties if there are any transitions to be made. They are involved in advocating for the rights of the healthcare consumers, especially in areas concerning receiving dignified care and treatment. The increased knowledge from more years in learning makes if possible for the registered nurses to undertake these roles.

Registered nurses spend more time in school compared to vocational nurses. This means that they get the chance to acquire more knowledge on different areas. Unlike the registered nurse, the vocational nurse cannot attend to some of these things involved in the coordination of care. Vocational nurses are involved in performing basic tasks. Therefore, they might assist the registered nurses in documenting the coordination of care. However, they will not be in a position to manage the health consumers’ care or to determine the best care alternatives. In addition, they may not have sufficient knowledge to advocate for the delivery of humane care where they are working with other professionals (Claywell, 2013).

Although the vocational nurses do not have as much knowledge as registered nurses, they should be concerned with observing all the principles of care. They can perform the basic functions of care and assist the registered nurses. They are able to collect basic information and data, identify common health problems, and assist the patients in their plan of care. However, the element of critical thinking and the increased number of years in school makes their roles and responsibilities different from those of registered nurses.


ANA. (2010). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice. American Nurses Association. Retrieved from

Claywell, L. (2013). LPN to RN transitions. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Health Sciences

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