IV insertion has become the second-highest liability for nurses and the focus of a dramatically rising number of lawsuits year over year, says Sue Masoorli, president of Perivascular Nurse Consultants. Yet no school offers diplomas in IV insertion, nor does nationally recognized IV insertion certification exist. Nurses wishing to become IV therapists, to document their training or simply to receive a more formal and extensive education in IV insertion than they are receiving on the job, can find courses, certificate programs and one certification program available to meet their needs.

On The Job

Most nurses are forced to learn IV insertion on the job and then pass it on the same to the new nurses who come after them. A few hospitals validate IV insertion competency, but not the majority. IV therapy is one of the most frequent duties a nurse performs, which gives plenty of opportunity for practice in addition to fostering a pervasive desire among many nurses and patients for a more a formal training requirement.

IV Therapy Courses

Many colleges and universities offer select IV therapy courses, usually worth around 27-33 course credits. Most of these courses also require 100-130 hours of supervised, in the field practice. Students completing these programs can apply those course credits toward a bachelor's or associate's degree. Such coursework is included in the larger training and certification programs for licensed practical nurses, who perform most of the IV insertions in a hospital, and registered nurses.

IV Therapy Certificate Programs

IV therapy certificate programs are more rigorous than IV therapy courses, with more course hours and clinic and lab time. After taking a certificate program, a students receive a certificate documenting their training. For certain employment or career advancement purposes, this can be helpful, as it can be in defending yourself in a court of law. In most cases, anyone can earn an IV insertion certificate, with no educational or vocational prerequisites, and once you earn a certificate there are no ongoing requirements to fulfill in order to keep it. Certificate programs are popular with Emergency Medical Technician students or practicing professionals.

IV Therapy Certification

Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation is the only agency offering a standardized certification program in IV insertion that is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification. Candidacy for the Certified Registered Nurses Infusion exam involves meeting strict eligibility requirements, including passing the NCLEX-RN, if an RN, or the NCLEX-PN, if an LPN. By passing the CRNI test, the nurse earns the title Certified Registered Nurse Infusionist and must now meet ongoing requirements to retain that certification.

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