Ask Nurse Jesse: LPNs and Pressure Ulcers

Anonymous Nurse: Can an LPN stage pressure ulcers?

Nurse Jesse:

Great question!

According to the Ohio Board of Nursing:

“The response to your question depends upon what is meant by “staging the wound.”   Section 4723.01(F), ORC defines the practice of nursing as a LPN and includes “providing to individuals and groups nursing care requiring the application of basic knowledge of the biological, physical, behavioral, social, and nursing sciences at the direction of a licensed physician, dentist, podiatrist, optometrist, chiropractor, or registered nurse.”  Chapter 4723-4, OAC, addresses the LPN’s role in the nursing process that includes the collection of objective and subjective data relevant to the client’s health status.

An LPN may collect patient data that includes the LPN’s observation, measurement and comparative analysis of a wound to a staging chart, and documenting the observation, measurements and comparative analysis

  1. The scope of practice for a RN is located in Section 4723.01(B), ORC.  The scope of practice for a RN may include assessing health status for purposes of providing nursing care.  When a RN “stages” a pressure ulcer it may be a part of the overall nursing assessment of the client for purposes of providing nursing care, e.g., determining the nursing care that will be necessary pertaining to the client with a wound.  Section 4723.151(A), ORC, prohibits a nurse from making a medical diagnosis, and from engaging in the practice of medicine or surgery.  Under the RN scope of practice, defined by statute in Section 4723.01(B), ORC, a RN may identify a nursing problem, and certainly may describe a wound including various tissue exposure, and may compare a wound to specific charts or graphs that identify types of wounds, and a RN may report a diagnosis determined by a qualified health care provider.  However, a RN cannot him/herself independently determine and report a medical diagnosis.

Therefore, whether a nurse, RN or LPN, may stage a wound, depends on what is meant by “stage a wound” and how it equates to a medical diagnosis and/or how it is documented and reported.”

Be sure to follow your institutional policy on wound assessment and documentation.

For more information on RN and LPN Scope of Practice, visit:

For more information on best practices in wound assessment:


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