What Does A Licensed Vocational/Practical Nurse Do?

The goal of rehabilitation nursing is to assist individuals with a disability and/or chronic illness to attain and maintain maximum function (ARN, n.d.). The Licensed Vocational/Practical Nurse (LPN/LVN) is recognized as a valuable member of the Rehabilitation Team. The LPN/LVN practices under the supervision of a registered nurse, physician, or advanced practice nurse and assists clients in adapting to an altered lifestyle, while providing a therapeutic environment for client's and their family's development. The LPN/LVN on the Rehabilitation Team contributes to and implements evidence-based treatment strategies that are related to self-care and that promote physical, psychosocial, and spiritual health. The LPN/LVN on the Rehabilitation Team works in inpatient and outpatient settings that can be found in a range of acute to subacute rehabilitation facilities. This role description has been developed to clarify and specify the responsibilities of the LPN/LVN on the Rehabilitation Team in a rehabilitation setting based on the LPN/LVN's established scope and standards of nursing practice as defined by each state's nurse practice act.

General Responsibilities of the LPN/LVN on the Rehabilitation Team

  • Possesses the knowledge and clinical skills necessary to provide care for people with physical disability and chronic illness (California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians, 2011; NCSBN, 2005; Texas Board of Nursing, 2012)
  • Participates in client/family educational activities and uses appropriate resources to develop and implement an individualized teaching and discharge plan with clients and their families
  • Performs hands-on nursing care by utilizing the nursing process to achieve quality outcomes for clients
  • Reinforces the care provided by other team members
  • Provides direction and supervision of ancillary nursing personnel, demonstrates clinical judgment appropriate for scope of practice, uses problem solving techniques and time-management principles, and delegates appropriately
  • Coordinates nursing care activities in collaboration with other members of the interdisciplinary rehabilitation team to facilitate achievement of overall goals
  • Demonstrates effective oral and written communication skills to develop a rapport with clients, their families, and health team members and to ensure the fulfilment of requirements for legal documentation and reimbursement
  • Maintains a strong commitment to the rehabilitation team


  • Reinforces information provided to clients about the disease processes underlying disabilities and teaches nursing techniques to help clients and their families develop the self-care skills necessary to move toward wellness on the illness-wellness continuum
  • Provides assistance to clients and their families within his/her scope of practice for future self-management and decision-making responsibilities by fostering clients' independence and goal achievement
  • Reinforces the teaching done by the rehabilitation staff nurse and other specialists in rehabilitation and other healthcare disciplines and provides resource materials for clients' changing needs


  • Contributes to the assessment of the physical, psychological, sociocultural, and spiritual dimensions of clients and their families, as well as their educational and discharge needs
  • Collaborates with other rehabilitation team members and contributes to the dynamic interdisciplinary plan of care
  • Implements the interdisciplinary plan of care within the scope of LPN/LVN practice and provides nursing care and education directly or through ancillary personnel, as needed, to maintain and restore function and prevent complications and further loss
  • Contributes to the evaluation of the nursing care and to the modification of the plan as needed to achieve measurable goals and objectives


  • Supports the goals for the rehabilitation client developed by the rehabilitation team through collaboration with clients, their families, the rehabilitation staff nurse, and other disciplines that are oriented to wellness behavior and are reality-based; and that encourage socialization with others.
  • Contributes to the interdisciplinary team process at team conferences and other team meetings and offers input into team decision making within their scope of practice
  • Intervenes with team members and other healthcare professionals to ensure that the optimal opportunity for recovery is made available to the client, the most significant member of the rehabilitation team
  • Collaborates with the rehabilitation staff nurse and other team members to achieve cost-effective care by utilizing appropriate clinical measures to meet emergent physical, psychosocial, and spiritual situations
  • Communicates effectively and interacts in a manner that facilitates the group process and team building.

Client Advocate

  • Actively listens, reflects, and assists clients and their families through the stages of the grieving process to mourn the loss of abilities and roles
  • Advocates for policies and services that promote the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and participates in activities that will positively influence the community's awareness of disabilities
  • Contributes to a safe and therapeutic environment and supports activities that promote the clients' return of function and prevent complications or chronic illness (NCSBN, 2005).
  • Intervenes on behalf of clients, along with the rehabilitation staff nurse, to ensure that medical professionals and nonmedical professionals work to maximize clients' success when they return to work or school


Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (n.d.). The Rehabilitation staff nurse role description. Retrieved
from http://www.rehabnurse.org/

California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians (2011). Vocational nurse practice act Retrieved from http://www.bvnpt.ca.gov/pdf/vnregs.pdf

National Council State Boards of Nursing (2005). Practical nurse scope of practice white paper.
Retrieved from https://www.ncsbn.org/Final_11_05_Practical_Nurse_Scope_Practice_White_Paper.pdf
Texas Board of Nursing (2012).Standards of nursing practice. Retrieved from

This role description was originally developed by the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses in 2002. Subsequent revisions were made in 2010, 2015, 2018.

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