COVID-19 and Your Practice: Frequently Asked Questions

Published: April 1, 2020

1. What are my accountabilities as an LPN during the COVID-19 pandemic?

All LPNs are accountable to meet their professional standards.  In a pandemic situation, meeting standards includes, among other things:

  • Making decisions that are in the best interest of your clients and protecting them from harm.
  • Taking action when client care may be compromised, including identifying strategies to prepare for, reduce and resolve situations that may leave client without the nursing services they need.
  • Protecting patients from infection risks. You can do this by:
    • applying hand hygiene principles
    • choosing appropriate measures to prevent and control infection transmission such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • understanding your workplace’s organizational policies about infection prevention and control
    • working with your employer to develop new policies as needed
    • using sources of evidence to inform your practice

To learn more, refer to Shared Health Manitoba’s Coronavirus Resources for Health-Care Providers and Staff. Note that Shared Health updates its resources frequently, so when visiting its website, you are encouraged to refresh (Ctrl + R) each time.

The following CLPNM resources may also assist you:

2. What are my accountabilities when providing care to a client diagnosed with (or suspected of having) COVID-19?

All LPNs are accountable to meet their professional standards.  See question 1.

In addition, when caring for a client diagnosed with (or suspected of having) COVID-19, LPNs are expected to understand and apply precautionary measures to minimize the risk of infecting themselves, colleagues client and others. To learn more about these topics, refer to Shared Health Manitoba’s Coronavirus Resources for Health-Care Providers and Staff

The following CLPNM resources may also assist you:

3. Can LPNs collect nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 in any setting?

Yes. LPNs can collect nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 in any settings if they have the acquired competence and employer policy and/or guidance. LPNs can collect nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs for a client with a client specific order or following a clinical decision-making tool (i.e. protocol or standing order). 

The following resources may assist you: 

4. Can an LPN provide care for a client receiving mechanical ventilation?

Yes. LPNs must ensure they have the knowledge, skills, judgment and appropriate authority before performing any health care activity or procedure. The CLPNM expects LPNs to practice within their individual level of competency, and in accordance with the CLPNM Standards of Practice, Code of Ethics, and practice directions. LPNs with the demonstrated knowledge, skill, and judgment, and who are supported by employer policy and/or guidance, may provide care for clients receiving mechanical ventilation.

All LPNs are responsible and accountable for their practice, and must collaborate with their employers to ensure they have the competencies to fulfill their role. As with any new practice or task, if an LPN has never cared for a client receiving mechanical ventilation in practice, the LPN should ensure they receive the necessary (as determined by the employer) training and supervision until both parties agree that the LPN has the required competence to perform the procedure safely.

The following resources may assist you: 

 

5. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my employer has asked me to work in an unfamiliar area. Can I refuse to work in that area?

Nurses from all designations and areas may be asked to work in unfamiliar areas or in new ways to provide nursing services related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We acknowledge this is an unprecedented time in health care and we recognize your efforts.

Nurses work in the best interests of their clients to set priorities, use critical thinking skills and apply professional, knowledge, skill, and judgment in these circumstances. Nurses seek out credible sources of information and follow best practice guidelines to provide nursing services and minimize the risk of disease transmission to themselves, their clients and others.

If you have concerns about your competence to work in an area, collaborate with your employer to problem solve, so that you can provide safe care and meet relevant standards of practice.

The following CLPNM resources may assist you in your decision-making:

You may also wish to contact the CLPNM Practice Department at info@clpnm.ca or 204-663-1212 (ext. 322)

6. Since the pandemic started, I have been asked to work in another area of the hospital that requires performing activities and procedures I am not familiar with. What are my accountabilities?
LPNs must ensure they have the knowledge, skill, judgment and appropriate authority before performing any health care activity or procedure. There are elements of nursing knowledge and entry-level competencies that transcend to all client groups and practice. While you may not be able to carry a full client assignment in the unfamiliar setting, there are many things you can do competently within your individual scope of practice to support client care in the new area.

When assigned to an area that you are not familiar with:

  • Perform activities that you are competent to perform.
  • Identify your learning needs specific to the new practice setting. Are there ways to address them?
  • Discuss your competency and expected responsibilities with your employer.
  • Seek out and participate in appropriate, employer-approved training opportunities.

LPNs can continue to provide safe client care by seeking advice, collaborating and problem-solving with the health care team, and their employer to identify strategies to continue safe client care during this challenging time.

The following CLPNM resources may assist you in your decision-making:

7. Can I post information on COVID-19 on social media?

There are risks and benefits to posting and it is important to maintain public confidence in your profession.  LPNs should not post information on social media that is not based in evidence or best practice, particularly if it might increase the anxiety levels of the public. For more information on your responsibilities related to social media use, read our Electronic Communication and Social Media Practice Direction.  We encourage stakeholders that are seeking information on the pandemic to access evidence-based information that is available and updated daily from the Manitoba Health COVID-19 webpage or Public Health Agency of Canada webpage. 

Other questions? Contact us at:
practice@clpnm.ca
204-663-1212 (ext 322)
1-877-663-1212 toll free (ext 322)