Education Career Articles

Connect Facebook Connect Twitter Connect Google+ Connect Pinterest Connect Stumbleupon

4 Common IV Fluids a Nurse Should Know

Higher Education Articles October 12, 2013

Nurses have an obligation to recognize and understand the purpose of the most common IV (intravenous fluids) fluids used to treat patients. Intravenous fluids are routinely used in outpatient and inpatient settings, as part of a medical regime to promote or restore good health. These chemical solutions are used to keep the body hydrated, transport oxygen through the bloodstream and as a vehicle to administer antibiotics.

Doctors prescribed IV therapy based on patient symptoms, treatment plans and medical condition. A nurse normally monitors the rate of fluid delivery, the IV site to be sure the medication is flowing properly and the patient’s response to therapy.

Approximately 60% of normal body weight is attributed to water. According to a May 2011 article, written by Ann Crawford PhD, RN and Helene Harris MSN, RN for Nursing titled IV Fluids What Nurses Need to Know; older people tend to have a lower percentage of body fluid while young children can have as much as 80% volume. Their article also states that adipose tissue has lower water volume than healthy lean muscle.

Understanding the significance of maintaining balanced, fluid levels accentuates the necessity of becoming familiar with the intended purposes of the most common IV fluids and their chemical compositions. This knowledge helps to ensure nurses are prepared to identify any problems that arise during treatment and take appropriate action.

Colloid Solutions

These solutions have large proteins and other molecules that remain in the blood vessels rather than being absorb outside the vascular space. Although colloids are expensive, these solutions are highly effective in maintaining proper blood volume since they tend to remain in the blood vessels.

Albumin Solutions

For protein replacement, one of the most common IV fluids is albumin solution. This mixture comes in either 5% or 25% concentration and is used to treat shock symptoms. Caution should be used when administering an albumin solution since pulmonary edema and fluid overload may develop in some patients. An additional concern is the potential for an anaphylaxis. Both colloid and crystalloid solutions have many uses and potential reactions.

Cystalloid Solutions

The third on the list of most common IV fluids is a class called colloid solutions. These mixtures contain electrolytes and are used to replenish body fluids or achieve a balanced electrolyte level which was compromised due to poor nutrition or disease.

The percentage of electrolyte to sterile water determines if the IV fluid is hypotonic (contained a lower concentration of electrolytes than blood plasma) or hypertonic (containing a higher concentration of electrolytes than normal blood plasma).

Ringer’s Lactate

The solution is also called LR, RL and Lactated Ringer’s. The chemical composition is primarily sterile water and a mixture of soluble sodium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride and sodium lactate. Ringer’s Lactate is an example of an isotonic cystalloid solution.

Normal Saline Solution

Another example of a cystalloid solution is normal saline. The saline concentration is 9% for this solution which is often administered in the ambulance during transport and to support proper fluid levels.

5% Dextrose in Water

Another of the most common IV fluids, D5W, is a carbohydrate solution. The composition is 5% glucose dissolved in sterile water. This isotonic solution is converted to a hypotonic solution in the body and is quickly metabolized once it is introduced to the body.

Blood and Blood Products

Blood and blood products are administered intravenously. Replenishing blood lost due to accident or illness with blood products is the best solution because they naturally carry oxygen to the body. However, blood is a precious commodity and is not always available.

Oxygen-Carrying Solutions

These synthetic (man-made) solutions are used when whole blood or blood products are not readily available or when medical providers deem necessary to facilitate oxygen delivery through IV solution alternatives.

Although these products are still in the experimental stage, researchers and medical providers are hopeful that these solutions will be added to the list of most common IV fluids, if they are able to mimic blood by carrying oxygen throughout the body, to counter the effects of severe blood loss or hypovolemia.

Intravenous therapy is useful for treating many disorders and managing patient vitals during surgery. Learning about the various fluids is crucial to providing patients with quality care.

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Gain Knowledge and Skills While You Earn Your Nursing Degree at Fortis!
  • Accredited
  • Financial Aid
5 Program(s) Found
  • There's still time to apply to Grand Canyon University and pursue your education. Learn more today!
  • Study on your schedule - GCU offers many programs 100% online to fit your busy lifestyle.
  • GCU offers a variety of opportunities to reduce the cost of furthering your education. Campus students may qualify for scholarships, while online students can take part in limited special offers.
  • A regionally accredited university, GCU also holds specialized accreditations and approvals for some of our core program offerings.
  • Degrees in business, education, nursing, humanities and social sciences, theology and more. Find the degree that fits you.
  • Talk to us today to learn more about financial aid and start dates!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Current RNs can choose from RN to BSN or RN to MSN online programs
  • RN-to-BSN program offers courses in Illness and Disease Management, Principles of Assessment, and Holistic Professional Nursing
  • RN to MSN specializations include Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology and more
  • Courses help develop students’ assessment, patient care, and community outreach skills
  • South University brings over 115 years of achievement and tradition to a supportive, online classroom
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • BSN completion program for Registered Nurses is available entirely online.
  • The RN to BSN program is designed to help students advance their career, or prepare for post-graduate opportunities.
  • Courses teach modern health assessment and treatment methods, how to evaluate potential disease or injury, and more.
  • Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
  • Online Courses
  • eLearners.com Helps You Find the Right College within Minutes.
  • Get Matched to the Perfect Medical Degree Programs From Top Colleges Here.
  • Learn at Your Own Pace and Get Qualified to Pursue a Career You Will Love.
  • Answer a Few Questions and You Are One Step Closer to Enroll in a Top College!
  • Online Courses
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
  • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year
  • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities (beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities.
  • Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WUSCUC).
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid

Searching Searching ...

Matching School Ads
5 Program(s) Found
  • Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
  • Colangelo College of Business: Features more than 25 programs from the bachelor through the master's level, including several high-demand MBA programs and an accelerated accounting degree.
  • College of Nursing and Health Care Professions: Rich 25-year history providing outstanding health care and nursing degree programs, including an RN to BSN program & master's in nursing degrees.
  • College of Education: Whether you are looking to start or advance your career as a teacher or administrator, GCU offers bachelor’s and master’s in education degrees in key areas.
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Provides a job focused education and features a variety of programs from counseling and psychology to justice studies, history and English literature.
  • Does something else interest you? GCU also offers programs in Doctoral Studies; Theology; Science, Engineering & Technology; and Fine Arts & Production. Speak with an enrollment counselor today!
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Online bachelor's programs include BBA, Criminal Justice, IT, Healthcare Management, Pscyhology & Public Health
  • Over 115 years of delivering quality education and personalized attention to students
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Program(s) Found
  • BSN completion program for Registered Nurses is available entirely online.
  • The RN to BSN program is designed to help students advance their career, or prepare for post-graduate opportunities.
  • Courses teach modern health assessment and treatment methods, how to evaluate potential disease or injury, and more.
  • Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
  • Online Courses
  • eLearners.com Helps You Find the Right College within Minutes.
  • Get Matched to the Perfect Medical Degree Programs From Top Colleges Here.
  • Learn at Your Own Pace and Get Qualified to Pursue a Career You Will Love.
  • Answer a Few Questions and You Are One Step Closer to Enroll in a Top College!
  • Online Courses
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
  • Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
  • Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
  • Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits

Login to your account

Can't remember your Password ?

Register for this site!