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Licensed Practical Nursing: Practice Ethics and Standards


Both during one’s nursing education and career, it is essential to understand and remember the profession’s fundamental aspects. The most vital parts are the code of ethics and the scope of practice that nurses have to keep in mind to perform as competent medical professionals. As an integral part of the healthcare system, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) have to adhere to a strict code of conduct and act according to the American Nursing Association’s (ANA) scope of practice. Following provisions of the ANA’s code of ethics ensures that nurses sustain their role as medical caregivers within the field. At the same time, the standards of practice allow LPNs to follow an outlined set of steps and procedures that constitute a nursing practice. This essay will discuss the importance of ethics in the career of LPN and describe the general guidelines for ANA’s standards of practice.

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Nursing Code of Ethics: Importance

The first essential part of the LPN’s career is the understanding of the code of nursing ethics. ANA (2020) highlights that the nurse has a vital obligation to regularly make life-sustaining decisions both before the patients and the public. Therefore, the societal vision of nurses’ caregiving should align with the ethical rules that guide LPNs in their everyday practice to provide “respectful, humane, and dignified care” (ANA, 2020, para. 16). The code of conduct by ANA contains nine fundamental provisions and can be divided into three general categories covering the most pressing issues of modern healthcare.

The first part consists of three provisions that can be regarded as an extensive elaboration on nurses’ commitments and values. This aspect is essential since it deepens an understanding of the core characteristics and behaviors that a qualified nurse has to display. At the same time, while most of them are competencies that are unconsciously exercised by most LPNs, it is still important to acknowledge and address them. The second section focuses on the framework of duty and loyalty that nurses have to exercise when assisting patients (ANA, 2020). It is useful to identify the boundaries of the nursing career’s duties since a vague idea about these concepts can potentially harm the patients and result in an unsuccessful patient outcome. The last part of the provisions concentrates on the responsibilities that a nurse has beyond care for individual patients in the hospital (ANA, 2020). Discussing and defining these aspects is essential since, as mentioned above, the nurse performs a role of a caregiver not only within a medical facility but also in society as a whole. Thus, understanding this role is fundamental in addressing and fulfilling the crucial duties of LPN.

Standards of Practice for Licensed Practical Nurses

The standards of practice for nursing specialists are a set of philosophical values and practical duties that LPNs have to implement in their work to serve the patients and the community. Although LPNs’ functions are not as extensive as those of registered nurses, their work still requires following the nursing process. The steps included in the process are “assessment, nursing diagnosis, outcome identification, planning, implementation, and evaluation” (ANA, 2015, p. 51). This formula covers all the necessary steps for LPNs to perform their duties and care for patients by providing them with a safe space for recovery and treatment. In the assessment stage, a nurse should evaluate the patient’s state by making an objective observation about the patient’s physical and psychological well-being to create an unbiased and concrete nursing diagnosis later. Unlike a doctor’s diagnosis, this one focuses on the objective facts and observations made before diagnosing. Nurses then formulate and follow a plan that a registered nurse created to facilitate the patient’s treatment. Lastly, it is essential to evaluate patient outcomes after the intervention adequately.

Additionally, there are also standards of professional performance that include several factors that determine nurses’ integrity. Some of them involve following an ethical guide described in the previous section, practicing “cultural congruity, efficient communication, collaboration, leadership,” as well as utilizing “education, evidence-based practice, and research” (ANA, 2015, p. 4). LPNs should integrate professional performance standards into their scope of practice to achieve the best patient outcomes.


In conclusion, it is safe to say that obtaining licensure for becoming an LPN requires a thorough understanding of the code of ethics and standards of practice of nurses. The ANA’s code of conduct provides an extensive guideline for how nurses should behave and adhere to their duties and serves as an outline for a professional and integral career path. The provisions’ importance is in their comprehensive elaboration of nursing duties; if not for a specific guide of ethical nursing, a vague understanding of the LPNs’ responsibilities can lead to unethical and detrimental patient outcomes. In their turn, standards of practice present LPNs with a more detailed guide of performance and an overview of the essential steps that one has to utilize in their everyday practice. When combined, nursing ethics and standards of practice are necessary parts of LPN licensure and career overall.


American Nursing Association. (2015). Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice. Nursesbooks.

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American Nursing Association. (2020). Ethics and Human Rights. The Nursing World. Web.

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