LPNs in the Charge Nurse Role

I am an LPN and the unit I work in is exploring new staffing models and have asked if I could work as the charge nurse. Is it within the scope of practice of an LPN to be in a charge nurse role?

An LPN can assume a charge nurse role in appropriate contexts. For clarity, the more acute and complex the needs of the client population, the less likely it is an appropriate context for the LPN to be the charge nurse. Consider the three-factor framework when determining the most appropriate care provider to the be the charge nurse for the practice context. The employer should identify an RN to be available, either in-person or remotely, to provide consultation and collaborative support for the LPN. If it has been determined that the context is appropriate, and an RN is available for consultation, you should consider the following:

  • The role of a charge nurse is an employment role and should have a role description with required competencies.
  • You may require additional education and experience to obtain the required competencies. You should work with your employer to attain these competencies.
  • You are required to practice within your individual scope of practice, scope of employment, and follow employer-specific and unit-specific policies and processes.
  • The consultation and collaboration between the RN and LPN can happen remotely (over the phone) and does not need to be in person.

If your practice setting cannot assign an RN for consultation and collaborative support, please reach out to a NSCN Practice Consultant at practice@nscn.ca for further advice.

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For further information on anything contained within this practice support tool, please contact an NSCN Practice Consultant at practice@nscn.ca.

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