The exhaustively revised Competency Profile for Licensed Practical Nurses, 3rd Edition (2015) was proudly released by the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta (CLPNA) after a nine month collaborative review.
The Profile is the result of a rigorous and ambitious review process that formally began in September 2014 and involved over a thousand participants.
This process resulted in a broad and thorough consultation, identifying and verifying the competencies of the LPN profession in Alberta, with licensed practical nurses, practical nurse educators, employers, specialty educators, interest groups, and other stakeholders. The review was conducted through face-to-face focus groups and consultations, webinars, surveys, teleconferences and interviews to collect data. New and revised competency areas were circulated to LPNs and clinical experts in specific practice areas, with rich data collected to inform the competency update.
Highlights of the Competency Review
There have been dramatic role changes for Licensed Practical Nurses in the last 10 years:
- Community Health encompasses so much more today and includes areas of practice like corrections, group homes, hospice, primary care, chronic disease management, public health, school health, and outreach nursing.
- Leadership has many streams for LPNs with opportunities in many sectors not even considered ten years ago.
- Advanced roles exist in many areas of Acute Care (neurovascular, cardiology, maternal/newborn, NICU, emergency/urgent care, and endoscopy).
The changes reflected in the Profile include additions of new areas currently taught in the basic practical nurse program, with many areas of advanced practice acquired following graduation. The language throughout the Profile is more academic with enhanced detail.
The following chart outlines the new, enhanced or changed competency areas.
Although it may appear there are many scope of practice changes, it is important to note, there are only TWO changes to scope of practice within the updated Profile, as indicated below.
New, Enhanced, Updated Competencies in 3rd Edition
(taught in practical nurse program)
(acquired through formal/informal, on the job,
|Social Sciences & Humanities
||Advanced Wound Care|
|Nursing Diagnosis (enhanced)
|Client Centered Care||Advanced Cardiology|
|Endoscopy/Post Anesthetic Recovery (basic)||Advanced Endoscopy/Recovery Room|
|Procedural Sedation||Labour and Delivery of Non-Viable Fetus|
|Splints/Immobilizers (basic)||Independent Practice|
|Mental Health & Addictions (enhanced)||Leadership (manager/administrator)|
|Public Health||Case Management (community)|
|InterRAI/MDS tools||Care of Critically Ill or Premature Newborn|
|Recognizing the unwell newborn||(NEW) Central venous Catheter-PICC line removal|
|(NEW to Basic) Phlebotomy|
|Central venous catheter management|
Competencies broadened to meet goals
Some basic competency areas have been stretched to facilitate the goals of the CLPNA Strategic Plan and to address new competency requirements for novice LPNs entering practice today. These areas include:
- Palliative Care
- Leadership (informal/formal)
- Community Health, Mental Health and Addictions
- Professionalism (accountability, responsibility, professional boundaries, fitness to practice)
Many LPNs have advanced their knowledge in these areas. However, for those LPNs who have not, CLPNA will continue to examine and promote appropriate continuing education opportunities.
Profiles through the decades
The Competency Profile has a long history in Alberta, with its inception almost 20 years ago. The 1st Edition was released in 1998, with evolution to the 2nd Edition after the 2003 LPN profession proclamation under the Health Professions Act. The 2nd Edition was adopted as a template for other LPN jurisdictions including British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. These jurisdictions adapted the Profile to meet their respective needs; most continue to use the document to guide practice today.
The Competency Profile for LPNs, 3rd Edition, marks a clear maturing of the profession of the Licensed Practical Nurse and will guide the profession well in the coming years. CLPNA extends a sincere “Thank You” to all who took part in the review process; the success of the project is due to the participation and commitment of all those involved.
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For more about the Profile, contact CLPNA’s Practice Consultants at firstname.lastname@example.org, 780-484-8886 or 1-800-661-5877 (toll free in Alberta).