The Registered Practical Nurse Role – as reported by Ron Davis


Ron Davis is a retired journalist, and a patient with the BAFHT who decided to take a closer look at the various departments at the medical clinic in Zurich and explain the different roles the staff play in making the clinic “tick” on a daily basis.

There are acronyms for everything nowadays, especially in the medical field. I have already talked about NPs and MOAs at Bluewater Area Family Health Team (BAFHT) and now I’ll explain the role of the RPN’s – the Registered Practical Nurses.

RPN’s at Bluewater Area Family Health Team (BAFHT) are an integral part of the team setting and are delegated tasks and responsibilities by the Executive Director. They are required to possess a foundational knowledge that combines nursing skills with sound judgement within the context of traditional nursing and patient care.

BAFHT incorporates Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Social Worker, Counsellors and Medical Office Assistants who provide primary health care for patients. The RPNs weigh in with clinical nursing, emergency care, health education and promotion, counseling, and crisis intervention and they are accountable to the Lead Physician or the Executive Director.

The RPN assesses each patient’s state of physical or mental health, provides recommendations pursuant to the assessment and accurately documents information in a comprehensive, subjective manner reflecting observations, management plan and interventions.

Through basic education and continuing learning, the RPN possesses knowledge relevant to his or her practice. They have a basic understanding of clinical practice, decision making, critical thinking research and leadership. And being aware of the confidentiality standards of nursing practice and an ability to apply College of Nurses standards to all situations is essential, too.

In summary, RPN’s play a major role in the clinic. Not only do they have to have the specific skills and abilities to be able to perform their jobs, but also have to exercise a professional and compassionate approach to patients and their work.

They have to follow the care plan devised by supervising staff members and must be able to work in a team environment. Being able to prioritize required tasks, have proficient computer skills and exercise critical thinking are also important abilities on the RPN’s resume.

Theresa LaPorte and Sarah Masse are the RPN’s at BAFHT.

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