The information in this document may be used by individuals to determine their ability to provide safe, competent and ethical nursing care, and meet the demands for a career as a licensed practical nurse in Canada.
Canadians expect their health-care system to provide them with safe care and to support them in becoming as healthy as possible. Meeting this expectation requires that licensed practical nurses are educated and capable of providing safe, competent and ethical nursing care. They must demonstrate the capacity to meet jurisdictional entry-to-practice competencies, and be able to practise within the context of relevant legislation and regulation while adhering to professional standards of practice and codes of ethics for the profession. Through legislation, the practical nursing profession is also granted the authority to recognize and set standards of education and standards of practice for the profession with an obligation to protect and serve the public interest.
The practice of licensed practical nurses spans a continuum from novice to expert and may encompass clinical practice, administration, education, research, consultation, management, regulation, policy and system development.
Practical nursing is a profession that is practiced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Individuals must have the ability to work various day/evening/night shift rotations, sometimes in excess of 12 continuous hours. Shifts occur on weekdays, weekends and holidays.
Through their basic (entry-level) recognized education programs, experience and continuing education activities, licensed practical nurses gain the theoretical and practical foundation to provide safe, competent and ethical nursing care. Licensed practical nurses care for people of all ages, regardless of gender, ethnicity or social situation, in a variety of practice settings (e.g., hospitals, communities, homes, clinics, schools and residential facilities). Their practice requires knowledge about health and illness, human biological sciences, the pathophysiology of diseases, health promotion and prevention, teaching and learning, and health-care systems.
Licensed practical nurses have a duty to provide safe and appropriate nursing care and to practise collaboratively with others members of the health-care team. They practise autonomously within their own level of competence and seek guidance from other health-care professionals when aspects of the care required are beyond their individual competence. The psychosocial components of care, including interpersonal, communication and teamwork skills, are fundamental to safe and effective practice.