IV nurse training equips health care professionals with skills of administering intravenous fluids, medications and infusions to patients. The training aims at preparing nurses with the right techniques for hydration, catheter monitoring, and blood transfusions among others.
To have a smooth operation, IV therapy nurses work closely with their counterparts; phlebotomist nurses. Both of these receive relatively the same kind of training, only that phlebotomist nurses specialize in blood drawing while the former can handle both.
Training to Become an Infusion Nurse
The major prerequisite of becoming an IV nurse is that, you must have prior nursing experience, preferably being a RN. You therefore must have completed your Associate of Science in Nursing, a BSN or a diploma in nursing and already have an active RN licensure.
Formal Education for IV Nurses
Usually, IV nurses are trained in community colleges, the health departments of their respective hospitals or in vocational training centers. Most nursing schools incorporate this training in the curriculum of emergency medical technician programs. As usual, you must check with your states’ board of nursing to be on the safe side about accreditation and up-to standard course coverage.
Some states have outlined the requirements of certification as a competent IV nurse graduate; hence, you must ensure your training facility delivers all those requirements. Student nurses must attend classroom lectures in addition to clinical rotations in an approved hospital setting.
Courses Included in IV therapy Nurse Training Programs
Irrespective of the location, there are courses that IV nurse trainees must cover to be allowed to practice. There is comprehensive coverage of infusion and fluid flow patterns in the body. The major courses required for this program include:
- IV wound dressing
- Infection control
- Fundamental Pharmacology
- Venipuncture techniques
- Skin Puncture
- Infusion flow rate Calculation
- Homeostatic fluid balance
- Vital signs monitoring
- IV complications and their management
All the courses will incorporate an aspect of theory lessons and supervised practical sessions.
IV therapy is usually taken as a supplementary training for already licensed RNs. As such, the course only last for about 45 hours or less depending on the curriculum details of the training school or facility.
For nurses who are already qualified infusion nurses, short conferences that could last two days helps train them on novel techniques of infusion therapy. This helps to keep them abreast with changes and innovations. Such advancement training programs are offered by the Infusion Nurses Society via hosting of conferences and training workshops.
Upon successful completion of training by an accredited school or health facility, IV nurses must obtain certification from the Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation. An active Registered Nurse licensure must be produced for the corporation to allow you to sit for the certification exam.
Renewal of certification for Infusion therapy nurse is done every three years. Renewing of certification is guaranteed in either of the following two ways:
i) The IV nurse must show proof of being involved in continuing education workshops and seminars offered by Infusion Nurses Society. In this case you must produce continuing education credits that are usually offered at the end of such workshops.
ii) The IV nurse can request for a retest exam from INCC for which they must pass.
Work Scope of Infusion Nurses
Infusion Nurses work closely with an array of medical professionals to ensure safe delivery of fluid medications and treatments. Since they are already RNs, they are only answerable to senior doctors or Nurse Specialists.
They also work hand- in hand with Phlebotomy nurses; who are also, to some extent trained on intravenous concepts. In addition to drugs, they also administer nutritional requirements in form of solutions to patients who are not able to take normal solid foods.
IV nurses can also be found in operating rooms where, they can administer required anesthetic medications that need to be directed to the peripheral or central nervous system. They must also be ready to give an emergency blood transfusion to patients who undergo excessive bleeding during surgery.