A Look at Some of the Best Practices for Administering I.V. Therapy

Healthcare Training Resource
August 8, 2012 — 1,002 views  
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Nurses frequently use intravenous therapy (I.V. therapy) to provide patients with essential minerals and vitamins. This form of treatment involves injecting raw materials into the body that are critical to healthy living. It is commonly used to help patients suffering from conditions such as asthma, hepatitis, migraine and more.

What are some of the most common intravenous access devices?

Intravenous access devices directly assist patients and deliver medications through veins. Additionally, these entry points are less likely to clot, and devices can remain in place for extended periods.

Central venous access units are often used by nurses. With these, medical professionals can easily access veins without deep needle sticks. Nurses typically place this device in one of the large veins in a patient's chest or neck.

Peripheral intravenous catheters are commonly used by many medical professionals. This unit is an ideal choice for patients who require IV medications, but will not need rapid fluid or blood administrations. However, keep in mind that complications could arise, including infiltration, occlusion and phlebitis.

Long arm catheters are a successful alternative to the peripheral intravenous type, as they are frequently used in situations that require extremely sterile conditions. While a peripheral intravenous catheter has a tip that lies near the vena cava, the long arm unit's end is inserted mid-clavicle.

What legal and regulatory issues exist with I.V. therapy?

Nurses have an obligation to provide patients with exemplary care. They must take accountability for their actions with I.V. therapy to avoid serious legal and regulatory repercussions.

Medical professionals owe their patients a duty of care, a stipulation that requires nurses to be attentive, cautious and prudent when they provide assistance. Failing to do so is classified as negligence, and gives a patient the right to sue a nurse. Improper administration of I.V. therapy can be considered a serious breach of care.

A nurse could also face professional consequences for his or her actions. Hearings could be held in which a committee of medical professionals will evaluate a nurse's conduct record.

The session could determine whether this person can continue providing I.V. treatment if a patient questions his or her care. Additionally, this nurse might face civil or criminal penalties based on the severity of the issues involved with the therapy. 

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