Certified registered nurse infusionists

September 22, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Gap medics students dressed in medical gear in the hospital.Intravenous medications, blood and fluids are often given to treat various conditions, such as shock, heart failure and cancer. Starting an intravenous line is often part of a registered nurse’s job, but it is a skill that may take some practice to perfect. This creates a need for nurses who are experts in starting and administering intravenous medications and fluids. Infusionists are registered nurses who specialize in administering fluids and medications intravenously.

What does an RN infusionist do?

Infusion nurses educate patients on their conditions and the need for intravenous medications or fluids. Nurses assess a patient’s veins in order to determine where intravenous access may be the easiest. They start intravenous lines by inserting a needle into a patient’s arm and attaching it to IV tubing. The tubing is attached to a bag or pouch of fluids, blood or medication.  Nurses must also ensure the appropriate level of fluids or dosage of medication is attached to an IV line. 

There are additional responsibilities for an infusion nurse once the intravenous medication has been started. Nurses monitor the line to make sure the fluid is dripping into the tubing at the appropriate rate. They also monitor the patient’s vital signs and perform frequent assessments to make sure the patient is not having an adverse reaction to the fluids.

Training needed to become a nurse infusionist  

In order to become a certified registered nurse infusionist, the first step is to graduate from a registered nursing program, which may result in an associate of science or a bachelor of science degree. After graduating from nursing school, licensing is the next step. Nurses throughout the United States are required to take the NCLEX in order to become licensed in the state they wish to work in.

Before you start working as an infusion nurse, you will need to gain a few years of experience working as a nurse in a patient care area, such as the emergency room, intensive care unit or telemetry. After you gain experience, you can take the Certified Registered Nurse Infusion exam administered by the Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation.

Opportunities and salary

Infusion nurses may work in a variety of clinical settings, including acute care hospitals and nursing homes. They may also find employment in outpatient infusion clinics and home health agencies. Salaries vary by geographic location and years of experience. The type of health care facility a nurse works in may also play a role in salary. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary in 2013 for registered nurses who specialize in infusions was about $65,000 a year.  

Skills required

All nurses need to have compassion for their patients, and being an infusion nurse is no different. Most people do not enjoy being stuck with a needle, so nurses need to be patient and understanding. In addition, infusion nurses will need to have a steady hand since they will be inserting needles into veins. In many instances, infusion nurses float to different areas in the hospitals. Time management skills and the ability to work well independently are also essential.