Scope of Practice

Legal Scope of Practice

The Regulated Health Professions Act and the Licensed Practical Nurse Regulations provide the legislative framework for practical nursing practice. Components of the legislative framework include a definition of practical nursing, a list of reserved activities authorized to licensed practical nurses, and conditions under which LPNs may perform these reserved activities.

Reserved Activities are activities that could pose significant risk or possible harm to the public if performed by someone without the necessary competence and skill. Members of a regulated Health Profession are authorized to perform specific reserved activities appropriate to their professional scope of practice.

The scope of practice statement describes in general terms what the profession does. It refers to the profession as a whole rather than what one individual can do.

Practical Nursing means the health profession in which a person applies particular knowledge, skills and judgment in providing practical nursing services to another person, including

  • assessing the person,
  • collaborating in the development of a nursing plan of care,
  • implementing a nursing plan of care, and
  • evaluating the person on an ongoing basis for purposes including promoting health, preventing illness or providing palliative or rehabilitative care;

The LPN Regulations authorizes LPNs to perform the following Reserved Activities:

(1)(a) performing a procedure on tissue below the dermis or below the surface of a mucous membrane;
(b) administering a substance by injection, inhalation, mechanical ventilation, irrigation, transfusion or enteral or parenteral instillation;

(b.1) administering a drug or vaccine by any means;
(c) putting an instrument, hand or finger
             (i) beyond the external ear canal,
            (ii) beyond the point in the nasal passages where they normally narrow,
           (iii) beyond the pharynx or larynx,

 (iv) beyond the opening of the urethra,
           (v) beyond the labia majora,
           (vi) beyond the anal verge, or
          (vii) into an artificial opening into the body.

(d) applying sound energy or electrical energy, other than ionizing radiation;

(e) applying electrical energy in the form of ionizing radiation to conduct an X-ray for the purpose of dental screening, diagnosis or treatment.

(2) A licensed practical nurse shall not perform a reserved activity referred to in subsection(1) unless it is performed pursuant to

(a) an order made by
            (i) a person authorized to practice as a medical practitioner or a nurse practitioner under the laws of this province or another province or territory in Canada; or
           (ii) a person authorized to practice as a dentist or registered nurse under the laws of this province or

(b) a Health PEI protocol

Administering a vaccine

(3) Notwithstanding subsection (2), a licensed practical nurse is authorized to administer by any means a vaccine prescribed by a person authorized to practise as a pharmacist under the laws of this province.

Prince Edward Island LPNs collaborate with other professionals forming part of an interdisciplinary team providing health care and function autonomously and are accountable for all acts or omissions undertaken or occurring within the scope of his or her practice. They are fully responsible for the care they provide.

LPN practice in Prince Edward Island is also guided by:

Each individual nurse’s scope of practice is also influenced by employer policies and the nurse’s individual competencies.