I.V. Q & A: I.V. Therapy as a LPN

Q: I am a LPN student in Ohio. I have a little bit of information on the IV therapy guidelines and regulations for the states of Ohio and West Virginia, but I would like to know what I can do in IV therapy as a LPN graduate.

A: Congratulations on your new career choice! I am sure you will find great satisfaction in the many aspects of nursing. As for participating in infusion therapy, there are some restrictions of which you should be aware. First , you should always check your state's Nurse Practice Act. The Nurse Practice Act defines the role and activities of nursing in the particular state where you reside or practice. The regulations are specific for both the registered nurse and the licensed practical nurse. Unfortunately, the Nurse Practice Act varies from state to state! You will have to call the Board of Registration for Nurses in the states you mentioned in order to get specific information about regulations and restrictions on your nursing practice.

Second, your nursing practice is further defined and regulated by the healthcare organization where you are employed. The employer's job description describes at what level you will function, what your job responsibilities will be, and what level of skills and competencies will be required of you. These activities and restrictions are based on practice guidelines, recommendations, and standards of practice from such national regulatory agencies and professional organizations as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Infusion Nurses Society (INS).

Standards of practice describe those activities in infusion therapy that the healthcare professional is required to provide, AND which enhance positive outcomes, protecting the patient from harm and injury, AND which serve as minimum practice guidelines for the measurement of quality and performance improvement. Standards are recognized within the legal system of this country; your infusion care delivery is measured against them. You may purchase the Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice from INS, and you will see how easily they may be incorporated into various policies and procedures. Several other professional nursing organizations have standards of practice that are applicable to their specialty practices.

Reprinted with permission from the INS Newsline, , Cambridge, MA; www.ins1.org. These questions come from I.V. clinicians and are answered by Debbie Benvenuto, CRNI, INS Education Manager and coordinator of the INS National IV Nursing Network, and Armand Serrecchia, RN, Nurse Planner at INS.