An IV therapist, also known as a phlebotomist, is trained for clinical procedures such as drawing blood samples from humans, injecting fluids, and injecting drugs. Specially trained phlebotomists collect arterial blood samples from the radial or ulnar arteries near the wrist. Phlebotomists do not administer intramuscular or subcutaneous injections, as these tasks must be performed by doctors or nurses who have IV therapy training. In some states, depending on state law, phlebotomists are authorized to administer Heparin or Saline flushes. This often includes more training and is widely used in some states where the phlebotomist is hired as a dialysis technician.

Duties of an IV Therapy Nurse

Intravenous therapy nursing is practiced in practically all areas of the health care spectrum and in just as wide a variety of settings. Outside the hospital environment, IV therapy nurses can be found in alternate care settings such as outpatient chemotherapy clinics, ambulatory infusion centers and the patient’s home. Home health care accounts for an expanding number of demands for IV therapy nursing as the American population ages. New technologies, drugs and equipment have brought this nursing field to another level, and it requires that IV therapy nurses maintain up-to-date education in this field.

IV therapy nurses, also known as infusion nurses, are responsible for monitoring patients, maintaining their tubing and bandages, and recognizing potential drug interactions and complications. The IV therapy nurse also is responsible for overseeing pain management medications, patient and family education, patient documentation, and research.

Related Types of Nurses

Nine skill areas are considered in IV therapy nursing, and these include pharmacology, infection control, clinical application, fluid and electrolyte balance, antineoplastic therapy, parenteral nutrition, pediatrics, transfusion therapy and quality assurance. In each case, the IV therapy nurse becomes specialized, yet that nurse also becomes capable of entering the similar professions of trauma care nurse, forensics and triage nursing, among other specialties.

IV Therapy Nursing Degrees

Training for an IV therapist comes as part of the process with nursing and or clinical/medical technician degrees. However, there are certification programs that will help you to begin your career as an IV therapist. The usual education required to enroll in a certification course in IV therapy nursing is a high school diploma or its equivalent or higher. IV therapist certification courses usually contain 27 to 33 college credits. They also involve 100 to 130 clock hours of work, depending on the program, in a clinic under supervision. In most cases, the credits can be transferred over toward an associate’s (ADN) or bachelor’s degree (BSN). A physical examination, background checkup, good math skills, and good high school grades in chemistry and biology are needed. When coursework has been completed, students are usually eligible to take the certification examination. National certification makes the employee more attractive, although requirements for certification vary by state. Currently, California and Kentucky are the only states that require certification.

Online Programs in IV Therapy Nursing

  • Colorado Technical University: RN to BSN
  • Drexel University: RN to BSN
  • Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences: RN to BSN
  • Indiana State University: LPN to BSN
  • Kaplan University: RN to BSN
  • Liberty University: RN to BSN
  • South University: RN to BSN
  • University of Phoenix: RN to BSN
  • Walden University: BSN