I am an LPN and would like to be self-employed within the scope of my nursing practice. I have read the nurse practice act, but still have a couple of questions. I would like to perform wound care, can I do that with just a doctor’s order? Can I do ostomy care on my own, or do I need orders from a doctor?
Dear Nancy replies:
Your ability to practice as a self-employed LPN is a wonderful goal to reach for, and with the proper supervision, your care can be a great asset to the community in which you practice. However, as you indicated, a great deal depends upon what your state nurse practice act and rules say about LPN practice, including its scope, what kind of supervision (direct or indirect) you might require, and if you can set up your own practice. Some states do allow LPNs to establish a business with other LPNs, RNs and other healthcare professionals while others do not.
In order to ensure your practice is in compliance with the nurse practice act and rules, you should consult with a nurse attorney or other attorney in your state who can answer the questions you raised in your submitted question, as well as other concerns you may have, such as record keeping, patient confidentiality and privacy, and what is required of any physician from whom orders would be received. In addition, if the board requires you to take a board-approved educational program on any of the services you would be providing, such as ostomy care, you would need to complete those courses before delivering any care.
You also should discuss with the attorney what business issues you need to resolve, such as filing self-employed estimated tax payments with the federal and state governments, an accounting method for payments and expenses, and what you can call your business if you plan to use an assumed name such as Good Care as opposed to using your own name. These are only some examples of questions to be asked before going into business. Your attorney may refer you to another attorney who practices in the area of business law to help you with these issues.