Licensed Practical Nurse
Jimmy Baughman, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) with the Ketchikan General Hospital, got interested in the nursing field while he was working in Texas. Working as a direct care staff worker at San Angelo State School in Texas, a facility for the mentally handicapped, Jimmy began thinking about entering the field of nursing. Jimmy’s family also served as an inspiration since both his mother and brother are nurses.
Jimmy moved to Ketchikan in 2002 from Texas, where he was born and raised. He began his nursing career as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and then enrolled in the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) LPN program. With the UAA distance program he was able to stay in Ketchikan while taking the required nursing courses.
As an LPN at the Ketchikan hospital, Jimmy spends most of his time working in the medical/surgical unit, though he can also help out in the long term care unit. He is beginning to spend time in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), as well. Jimmy eventually plans to continue on with his training to become a registered nurse (RN).
When Jimmy is not at work he enjoys fishing, hunting, camping and playing darts and pool with his friends in Ketchikan.
Jimmy works the night shift at the hospital which begins at 7 pm. Asked to describe a typical day, Jimmy reports that he begins his shift by listening to taped reports from nurses on the previous shift. Then he and the other nurses on his shift divide up the patients and read through individual reports to determine what medications will be needed for each patient for the night, as well as what hygiene and foley care will be needed.
Once Jimmy has read the reports, he goes out on to the floor to introduce himself to his patients, give head to toe assessments, listen to their lungs and check their skin condition for such things as bed sores. If any of his patients have been through surgery he also does a CMS (circulation, movement, sensory) check to make sure all are within normal limits. Jimmy also checks dressings to make sure there is no bleeding or soaking through the bandages.
Next, Jimmy starts his charting, which is done on the computer, and delivers medications to his patients. Throughout the night, he delivers pain medications, as needed. Patients are asked to rate their pain on a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being the lowest and 10 the highest) to help determine how much pain medicine to give a patient. Periodically throughout the night Jimmy checks vital signs such as blood pressure, pulse, respirations, and oxygen levels. If any of the vital signs go down, he must call a doctor. Jimmy also keeps track of a patient’s food and fluid intake.
Jimmy’s shift concludes by taping reports about the patients for the next group of nurses who take over after his shift. He gets off at 7:30 am.
When asked what he liked best about his job, Jimmy responded, “I like working with people and in this profession you get to meet lots of people. I enjoy the thought that I am helping someone recover so they can go home.” Jimmy says he also particularly enjoys working the night shifts. “I like the fact that we work as a team at night. And also that we don’t have to deal with the fast pace of day shifts.”
When asked if he felt there was anything unique about working as an LPN in Ketchikan, Jimmy commented, “ I probably get to do a lot more here than I might working in a hospital in a city because we are a small hospital.” Jimmy also noted that the Ketchikan hospital gets a lot of patients from the visiting cruise ships during the summer months.
Advice to students…
Jimmy advises students thinking about the nursing field to consider getting a CNA license first and then continuing on to become a LPN. Jimmy feels this pathway will give students a better understanding of the responsibilities of each profession, what they can and cannot do. Jimmy comments, “It’s given me a better understanding of the whole medical field.”
This page was last updated by Janice Troyer on May 03, 2007