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From the RPNAO:

Professionals ‚ first and foremost. In World War II, Registered Nurses were scarce and the demand for nursing care was high. The Practical Nurse came into existence in 1938 to meet the increasing demand for bedside nursing care. Today, the profession has existed for over 60 years and RPNs are recognized as valuable members of the health care team.

RPNs are health care professionals. They combine nursing skill, knowledge and judgment with a caring attitude and personal touch. They provide, assist and educate clients with their activities of daily living which include nutrition, elimination, medication, safety, ambulation and hygiene.

RPNs assess clients' conditions and chart progress. They care for wounds, change dressings and give medications. They assist clients with health promotion, maintenance and return to health through changing clinical situations. They care for clients as disease progresses and through the palliative stages.

RPNs work anywhere that health care is provided ‚ in hospitals, homes for the aged, nursing homes, retirement homes, public health units, community nursing agencies, clinics, private practice, industry, schools, child care centres, children's camps.

Many RPNs complete post graduate education for critical care skills used in the operating rooms, dialysis, emergency and intensive care. RPN practice can be autonomous and RPNs are valued members of the health care team.
The Registered Practical Nurses' role is becoming much more established in the health care community now that RPNs can give meds, catheterize patients, provide wound care, and basically have the same scope of practice as RNs.
by NurseBetty May 19, 2009
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