IV Therapy Nursing

IV therapy nursing, or intravenous nursing, is care for patients who need some sort of intravenous therapy. These therapies can include blood transfusions, medications, investigational drugs, antineoplastic agents and parenteral nutrition. An IV therapy nurse may care for patients of any age or background. Often their patients are recently discharged from the hospital and recovering, in hospice care, chronically ill or elderly. For example, IV therapy nursing is commonly needed to treat dehydration in elderly people.

IV therapy nursing is practiced in practically all areas of the health care spectrum. Besides the traditional hospital setting, this type of nursing is also found in alternate care settings such as outpatient chemotherapy clinics, ambulatory infusion centers and the patient’s home itself. Home health care accounts for an expanding number of demands for IV therapy nursing. New technologies, drugs, and equipment have allowed for increasingly complex treatments and procedures to be provided in the home environment.

The IV therapy nurse is responsible for a variety of roles, such as overseeing pain management medications, patient and family education, patient documentation, and research. Some of the most common roles performed in regard to the patient include venous and arterial punctures, maintaining the tubing, dressings and other aspects of the intravascular site, monitoring for infections, assessing the patient during treatments, and initiating emergency therapies if necessary.

There are nine skill areas that are considered key to IV therapy nursing. These include pharmacology, infection control, clinical application, fluid and electrolyte balance, antineoplastic therapy, parenteral nutrition, pediatrics, transfusion therapy, and quality assurance. For example, quality assurance means the IV therapy nurse must comprehend the applicable laws and requirements while pharmacology means they must understand medications and common interactions with other medications. IV therapy nurses also must keep abreast of knowledge in their field due to ever increasing high-tech equipment and advances.

To become involved in IV therapy nursing, you will need an advanced nursing degree. The University of Phoenix offers the following online nursing degree programs:
» Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Click for more info)
» Master of Science in Nursing (Click for more info)
» Or see online LPN to BSN, RN to BSN, or general nursing programs

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