This article is going to discuss IV nurses: what they are, how to become one, what you might have to expect as an IV nurse, and more. If you have any interest in this profession, this article will be chock-full of pertinent information, so make sure to check it out in detail.
Don’t know what an IV therapy nurse is? You’ve come to the right place, and you’ll have your answer once you keep on reading.
What Is An IV Nurse?
IV nurses (or infusion nurses) are registered nurses who make sure that patients who are receiving IV therapy receive appropriate care for ordered therapy. This can include having to choose appropriate infusion devices and monitoring a patient’s response to the therapy.
They are, in their most basic form, nurses who administer medications and products to patients intravenously (via IV). They specialize in the administration of IV medication and inserting IVs.
Therapy nurses might have to deal with serious issues such as nutrient replacement in patients whose bodies can’t process food correctly to more minor issues such as an individual who needs additional fluids after sweating them out.
Their tasks are varied and widespread, and they serve to help many patients in several ways. If you’re interested in becoming an IV nurse, continue reading this article to discover more about it, such as the necessary educational requirements for infusion nurses.
What Are the Educational Requirements for Infusion Nurses?
To become an IV nurse, there are a few necessary requirements you must achieve. Below are four big-picture steps you will need to follow to become an infusion nurse, but please be aware that going down this path can and will take many years to complete.
- Get an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN; 2-4 years of schooling) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN; 4 years of schooling)
- Pass the NCLEX-RN: the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) is the stepping stone between graduating from nursing school and becoming a nurse. It’s a standardized test that all nurse hopefuls must take, and it is prepared by the Board of Nursing in each state to make sure you have the required skills and knowledge to officially enter into the field of nursing.
Many prep materials can be found online and in person for free, so if you’re getting ready to take this test, make sure to get as much research and studying in as you can.
- Work as a Registered Nurse, gaining at least 1,600 hours in an infusion-related field.
- Pass your Certified Registered Nurse Infusion exam through the Infusion Nurses Society.
Step 4 references that you must become certified before you can truly become an IV nurse, but what does that mean?
What about Certification?
According to the exam website, an individual who has passed the Certified Registered Nurse Infusion exam (or CRNI exam) is, to the wider community, considered to be “an exceptional nurse who has passed a rigorous exam covering the core areas of infusion nursing. CRNI®s stay ahead by being exposed to the newest advances in technology and practice within the infusion nursing specialty.”
The CRNI exam features 120 questions and takes over three hours to complete. It is not meant for the faint of heart. However, considering that one must already have completed a rigorous nursing course and a minimum of 1600 hours within an infusion-related field, if you’ve come this far, you’re definitely determined enough to stay the course and follow this path to the end.
However, some locations may not require the passing of this exam, so make sure to check the requirements and do your research.
Now that you’re officially an infusion nurse, you may be wondering where you might be working.
Where Do Infusion Nurses Work?
If you’ve made it this far into the article, you might be wondering just where you’ll end up working as an infusion nurse. Truly, your bases of operation can be categorized into three different areas: in hospitals, within outpatient centers, or even by doing house-calls.
If you are an IV therapy nurse who primarily works in a hospital, you might be put in the position of bedside nurse, resource nurse, or even as a PICC (peripherally inserted central line) nurse. Although somewhat different, at the end of the day, you’ll be performing most of the same duties in each position.
In Outpatient Centers
As for those infusion nurses who work in outpatient centers, you might find yourself placed in infusion centers (an outpatient clinic that is certified to administer infusion therapy), oncology, home health, primary care, long-term care facilities, and skilled nursing homes.
Although rarer, it is possible that, as an IV nurse, you might be called to make house calls for patients in need of IV treatment or therapy. If this is the case, it normally will happen through an agency rather than through your own decision, so make sure you’re ready for the possibility. It can even help to confirm whether or not house calls will be a requirement for you.
Now that you’re aware of where you might be called to provide service, the next step is making sure you’re aware of what, in more detail, might be expected of you as an IV therapy nurse.
Responsibilities of an Infusion Nurse
It’s now time to go into more detail about just what an infusion nurse/IV nurse might have to deal with during the day-to-day.
Infusion nurses must:
- possess keen assessment and monitoring skills
- be highly skilled at performing venipuncture (the skill of finding the vein and inserting the IV with the least amount of pain and discomfort for the patient)
- possess knowledge of different IV medications, fluids, and blood products to know the best method to suggest for a specific patient’s treatment
- be aware of infection control precautions, as their health and the health of their patient is of the highest priority
- be competent in working with a variety of different vascular access devices associated with infusions, such as peripherally inserted central catheters (PICC) and midline access catheters
There are many other responsibilities required for this position, but this list will give you a broad idea of what will be expected of you as an IV therapy nurse.
With this list of responsibilities, it should become clear that becoming an infusion nurse requires a lot of time, dedication, and an extreme desire to care for others. But all the care in the world can’t help you if you can’t pay your bills, so at this point, if you’re still interested in becoming an infusion nurse, you might be wondering what you can expect to make annually.
Infusion Nurse Salary
Look no further! According to salary.com, IV therapy nurses can earn up to $83,000 a year.
With all that you’ve learned about being an IV therapy nurse, it’s time to finish this article and set you on the path towards becoming this specific type of nurse.
Becoming an IV therapy nurse is certainly not an easy path, but it’s a fulfilling and prosperous one if you can keep on the path with determination.