Historical establishment and roles of LPNs in Canada
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Historical establishment and roles of LPNs in Canada


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Purpose:  To seek out and determine significant historical events that occurred which had and/ or continues to have an impact on either nursing or healthcare in Canada. This paper will fully discuss the history, impact and importance of the event. Use the Rubric as your guide.

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Before the advent of nursing schools and proper education related to dealing with sickness, there were few people who acted as the care giver or nurse on the basis of knowledge. Later on, these people gained authority in their villages and community to undertake treatment activities and pass on their knowledge to others. This is the main route from where nursing activities started to flourish. Today, many proper institutes are there that provide proper educational qualification to a person to become a professional healthcare expert. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is the result of such professional education that is received by nurses and the legal responsibility and authority provided to them to undertake healthcare treatment related activities.  LPNs are a common term used in the North American countries, in order to refer to the healthcare professionals who offer services to patients. In Canada, these LPNs are called for providing technical care like changing dressings of wounds, monitoring any changes in vital signs of patients etc. (SM, CH, DG, L, & MP, 2010). 



LPN in simple terms can be defined as a nurse who works under the direction and supervision of a physician. These LPNs work according to their own scope of practice and standards based on certain code of ethics (Huynh, Alderson, Nadon, & Kershaw-Rousseau, 2011). This collaboration is given importance, as it has the ability to facilitate patient's safety and improve the quality of care. Many researchers have proved that this collaboration helps to improve the capacity of care and quality of  healthcare services (Corazzini, et al., 2013). 

History of LPN in Canada

The role of LPNs has changed and evolved with the healthcare system and the legislations guiding them. During the time of World War II, a serious shortage was experienced in the number of registered nurses to handle the patients. This was the main driving force for the idea of licensed practical nurses that can be used for technical supports and collaborations to serve the patients more efficiently. The very first attempt towards this was taken by the Ontario province of Canada, by passing the legislation to establish a nursing school in order to provide training and education. After Ontario, attempt towards this was taken by Manitoba by passing Licensed Practical Nurses Act. This act provided for training as well as examination and licensing of the practical nurses. This act received royal assent by the year 1945. This was the first legislation in North America which was enacted in order to govern the practical nurses (Pringle, Green, & Johnson, 2004). After Manitoba, Alberta took formal efforts towards this. School for Nursing Aides was established by the Canadian Vocational Training institute and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The enrolment during this phase was restricted only to the armed forces personnel. In the year 1947, Nursing Aides Act was passed because of which civilians were now allowed to enrol themselves as trainees. This act facilitated the provision for licensing the Certified Nursing Aide. The training program was undertaken by the Department of Public Health, who issues a certificate and a license to practice in Alberta. And this is how the tradition of LPNs started in Canada, to impact the healthcare system of the country. The enrolment for this certification was limited to women only. In the year 1957, an organized group was established by the nursing aides in order to meet at a common place and discuss about various issues. In the year 1959, this organized group got a position in the Nursing Aide Advisory Committee. In the year 1958, second such training centre was opened at Edmonton by the Department of Health in order to facilitate the practice of LPNs in the country. Till 1990, these LPNs were called as Registered Nurses and hence, the professional council applied for change in title and LPNs came into effect since then (CLPNA, 2010). Other provinces of Canada also followed this pattern of the country and developed facilities and factors to promote the concept of LPN in the country

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