IV nurses are responsible for administering various types of intravenous therapies and ensuring that patients receive high-quality, safe infusion care. In this article, you can read more about the qualification and skills required to become an infusion nurse and what this job entails.
What Is an IV Nurse?
An IV nurse is a registered nurse who specializes in administering intravenous medication or therapies. Infusion nurses are responsible for ensuring that patients receive suitable care, from choosing and inserting an appropriate intravenous device to managing, monitoring, and evaluating the patient’s response to the treatment.
An IV nurse must have a range of skills and expertise, including:
- Knowledge about IV medications, fluids, and blood products
- Performing venipuncture (the puncture of the vein for intravenous injection)
- Working with different vascular access devices, such as peripherally inserted central catheters and midline access catheters
- Assessment and monitoring of patients
- Taking infection control precautions.
Where do infusion nurses work?
Infusion nurses work in a variety of locations, from hospitals to less traditional settings, for example:
- Governmental clinics and hospitals
- Private practice
- Outpatient surgical centers
- Oncology facilities
- Ambulatory infusion centers
- Long-term care facilities
- Skilled nursing homes
- Patient’s home
- Home health agencies
- Outpatient pharmacies
- Medical spas
- International medical relief organizations.
- IV parties
What Are the Educational Requirements for Infusion Nurses?
To become an infusion nurse, you have to complete an accredited nursing program, obtain a nursing license, earn certification, and gain experience at the bedside.
Attend nursing school
If you’re looking to become an infusion nurse, you have to complete an accredited nursing program. You can choose one of the following options:
- Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). This degree focuses on learning clinical tasks, such as monitoring patients, and performing basic healthcare procedures.
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). This degree incorporates additional aspects of nursing, for example, management and public health.
Obtain nursing license
Once you graduate, you need to take the NCLEX-RN examination to become licensed by the State. All registered nurses must be licensed in order to get a job.
Most employers require at least one year of clinical experience in intravenous access and various types of infusion therapy. Infusion nurses can gain experience in many different fields like pediatrics, geriatrics, oncology, emergency room, intensive care units, and surgical units.
The Infusion Nurses Society offers the nationally recognized Certified Registered Nurse Infusion (CRNI) program. The requirements to obtain certification are:
- Having an active and unrestricted registered license in the United States
- Having a minimum of 1,600 hours of experience in one of the following areas: nursing education, administration, research, or clinical practice within the infusion specialty.
Certification training gives competency to perform nursing duties, but is not required for all positions.
Continuing education requirements
Registered nurses must get a recertification every three years by taking an exam or completing 40 hours of continuing education credits.
In order to renew the registered nurse license, you have to fill out an application, complete a specific number of Continuing Education Unit (CEU) hours, and pay a nominal fee. Each state has specific requirements for recertification. Some states require CEUs related to child abuse, narcotics, and/or pain management.
Responsibilities of an Infusion Nurse
Infusion nurses have varied responsibilities that are different from those of typical bedside nurses. These responsibilities consist of administering medications and therapy, developing care plans, collaborating with other health care professionals and patients, monitoring, and assessment.
Administering medications and fluid therapy
- Performing blood transfusions, chemotherapy, antibiotic, steroid, electrolyte, and vitamin infusions
- Inserting intravenous access
- Inserting and maintaining Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters (PICC)
- Dressing changes on PICCs, midlines, and central lines
Developing care plans
- Performing patient assessments
- Developing a plan of care together with the physician, the patient, and their family, with regards to infusion therapy
Collaborating with other health care professions
- Collaborating and communicating with the ordering physician throughout therapy
- Collaborating with nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other members of the healthcare team
- Communicating patient’s history, assessment findings, status, as well their response to care
Involving the patient
- Inviting patients and their families to be actively involved in making decisions about the patient’s treatment
- Educating patients, families, and caregivers about possible side effects of therapy
- Providing information about symptoms of infection that should be reported
- Coordinating the discontinuation of IV services with patients
Performing patient care
- Performing equipment maintenance
- Regularly assessing line site and patency
- Monitoring the patient's response to treatment throughout therapy
- Responding appropriately to side effects, adverse reactions, or anaphylaxis during infusion
- Reviewing lab values and drug information
- Infection control and prevention
Infusion Nurse Salary
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary of a registered nurse in 2020 was $75,330 per year. However, this applies to nurses in general as the BLS doesn’t specify the salaries of nursing specialties.
Salary.com informs that the average annual salary for an infusion nurse is $83,227, typically ranging between $75,167–$90,073. This may vary depending on the state and organization in which you are employed. The top five highest paying cities for infusion nurses are San Francisco, San Jose, New York City, Seattle, and Boston.
How to Care For an IV Patient
The ultimate goal of a nurse is to provide the best conditions possible for the patient. Here are some ways an IV nurse can make the infusion experience more pleasant:
- Help protect the IV line after inserting the catheter by taping the IV tubing.
- Protect the insertion site from bacteria through safe practices that prevent contamination.
- Make sure that the patient is comfortable and at ease. Besides trying to reassure the patient, the nurse should also ask about previous insertion sites that were successfully used.
- Answer the patient’s questions and concerns.
- Document all necessary information about IV insertion, including the insertion site, the type and gauge of the catheter, and the number of attempts.
- Perform and monitor the IV treatment.
- Call help if necessary.
Besides administering high-quality care, showing respect and encouraging involvement will also help increase patient satisfaction. It is essential to ensure that patients are comfortable asking questions about the treatment. This allows them to feel more in control of their care and helps prevent any treatment compliance issues due to misunderstandings. Engaging patients and their families can also lead to better patient outcomes in hospitals.
Reset IV Nurses
The Reset IV team consists of registered nurses with many years of experience offering intravenous treatments in hospitals and clinics. To date, our medical team has administered over 12,000 IVs. Each of our professionals is fully licensed and insured in accordance with the strictest standards in the states we operate in. They will be able to advise you about the best treatment options for your needs.
Our priority is to provide outstanding service to the patients in a quick and timely manner. We will also ensure that you're receiving an IV therapy that meets the highest safety standards. The treatments we follow use the same protocols employed by the Emergency Rooms and Urgent Cares across the country.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions about IV therapy or if you’d like to schedule an appointment.