The New York guide to nursing, published by the NYS Education Department, provides the following:
Licensed Practical Nurses function by law in a dependent role at the direction of the RN or other select authorized health care providers. Under such direction, Licensed Practical Nurses may administer medications, provide nursing treatments, and gather patient measurements, signs, and symptoms that can be used by the RN in making decisions about the nursing care of specific patients. However, they may not function independent of direction.
Inappropriate use of LPNs may expose agencies to potential litigation
, the delegating RN to a potential charge of unprofessional conduct for inappropriate delegation of professional responsibilities [see Regent Rules 29.1(b)(10)], and the LPN to a charge of acting outside the scope of nursing as a Licensed Practical Nurse [see Regents Rules 29.1(b)(9)].
However, where there is a physician who is overseeing the RN, the physician is also potentially liable for his/her lack of oversight. Nevertheless, primary responsibility lays with the RN.
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