REVISED: Competency Profile for Licensed Practical Nurses


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.

READ – Competency Profile for LPNs, 3rd Edition (2015)

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).

Many Updates, Two Scope of Practice Changes

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,
or offsite education/certification

Social Sciences & Humanities
Advanced Wound Care
Nursing Diagnosis (enhanced)
Advanced Neurology
Client Centered Care Advanced Cardiology
Endoscopy/Post Anesthetic Recovery (basic) Advanced Endoscopy/Recovery Room
Procedural Sedation Labour and Delivery of Non-Viable Fetus
Epidural/Spinal Monitoring Dermatology
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
Career pathways
Complementary therapies
(NEW to Basic) Phlebotomy
Central venous catheter management

READ – Competency Profile for LPNs, 3rd Edition (2015)

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:

  • Gerontology/Dementia
  • 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.

RELATED – Continuing Education for LPNs

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.

Order or Download the Profile


Receive the Profile & much more by submitting an Order Form:


Download the complete or individual sections of the Profile from our webpage:


(Update: Jul 23/15) Print versions are NOW AVAILABLE. Please use the Order Form above.

Interested in a printed or binder-version? Sign up below on our Wait List, and we’ll contact you when they are available with prices and an order form:

  • Sign up on Wait List

For more about the Profile, contact CLPNA’s Practice Consultants at, 780-484-8886 or 1-800-661-5877 (toll free in Alberta).


6 Responses to “REVISED: Competency Profile for Licensed Practical Nurses”

  1. Although I am very excited as to the new competencies that fall into the LPN role, I wish that the monetary compensation would reflect this a little better. To be able to perform most if not all of the tasks of the RN we should be paid a little better, especially compared to Diploma RNs.

    • Why should I, or any other LPN, be happy that our work load, and responsibilities, are increasing? As long as we have the same old defeating attitudes,from the public, as well as from our employers.IE,”are you a nurse, or a LPN”?
      I work side by side other diploma nurses,RN and RPN’s..doing the very same job, for less respect, money and opportunity.
      I feel that we are being miss led to think that we should be proud, proud of our advancements,proud that we are “being permitted” to do more intricate clinical skills, all the while continuing to be repressed.
      In my view it is a human right case, a case of being prejudiced against. I’m sure, most of us, know the Rosa Parker story… That was wrong, and this is wrong…

  2. I agree. Our compensation should follow what we do. This isn’t an issue for the college to address, though. This is an issue for the Union to address. And we are currently in bargaining so contact your union reps and advocate!

  3. A slight correction regarding increased pay for our increased education equivalency to diploma RN education level.
    The Union is currently and has fought for recognition of payment for our work level for years. As LPN’s We need to start lobbying and pushing AHS and Covenant Health/Covenant Care to increase our wages and acknowledge the increased work load.
    They are who refused to increase ang monetary value for our work.
    They are the employer that we bargain with.

  4. The college cannot address an increase in monetary compensation but they can and should make this new document available for FREE to CLPNA members, either by USB or printed copy.