Registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs) receive special training for employment in health care settings, clinics and hospitals as intravenous (IV) therapists. Venipuncture techniques are used by IV therapists in establishing catheter lines for IV therapies, including blood transfusions, drug administration and hydration. Colleges typically provide traditional IV therapy training courses as certificate programs. Both traditional instruction and supervised on-the-job training in clinics for part of coursework in a typical IV therapy certificate program. Students are taught about physiology and anatomy with specific relevance to drug interactions, safety precautions, administration and care of an IV site, and intravenous therapy.
Before an individual is allowed to apply for admission to an IV therapy certificate program, they are required to be a registered nurse with a current temporary permit or state nursing license, or a licensed practical nurse. Many programs require previous experience working as an LPN or RN. Candidates may also be required to furnish proof of a negative tuberculosis test and to consent to a criminal background check.
Coursework in IV therapy certificate programs focuses on effects and complications of IV therapy, medications and fluid balance; in addition, current IV administration techniques. It covers subject areas such as Patient care and assessment, Drug interactions, Discontinuation of IVs, Infection prevention and complications, IV site maintenance, IV site selection, Fluid and electrolyte balance, Anatomy and physiology and IV therapy administration.
Salary Information and Employment Outlook
Job growth for licensed practical nurses has been projected at twenty-one percent for the period from 2008 to 2018 while that for registered nurses during the same period has been predicted at twenty-two percent (source: BLS). In January 2012, RNs specializing in IV therapy took home an average annual salary of $70,188 (source: Salary.com).
Licensure and Certification Information
After they complete an IV therapy certificate program, students seeking certification must demonstrate their skills in a clinical setting and pass a written final examination. Once they complete the program successfully, students can have their nursing license updated, thereby reflecting certification in the field.