Knowing when to give an IV infusion is as important as knowing how to give one. This article will address the different types of IV infusions and explain what you should do if the nurse administering them says it’s time to give you an infusion. While some nurses may prefer giving IV infusions over other medications, there are still situations where it’s necessary: What you should know about intravenous (IV) infusions before you take the plunge and sign up as an intravenous infusion nurse The demand for intravenous (IV) infusion nurses has been growing steadily for several years now, with many nursing programs adding this essential nursing specialty to their curriculum. The job of an IV infusion nurse is no joke—you’ll be responsible for monitoring a patient’s blood pressure, temperature, and electrolytes; giving them medication according to a schedule; and assisting with follow-up care after the visit.
What is an IV Infusion?
A “ vascular” or “IV” infusion is a medication infusion which is given through a vein in the body. The type of infusion you give can vary depending on your patient’s situation and their medical condition. Some common types of IV infusions include:
## Types of IV Infusions
There are many different types of IV infusions, and each one has a different set of requirements. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with the different types of IV infusions to be able to properly administer them. Here are some of the most common types of IV infusions:
Fluid administration – IV fluid administration is the administration of fluids such as plasma or saline via a infusion set or drip. Plasma is the most common fluid used for an IV infusion, but other types are also used.
Liquids – Among the most common types of fluids used for an IV infusion are liquids such as saline, glucose, and oxygen.
Saline – Saline is the most common type of liquid used for an IV infusion. It’s often used for patients who are on a temporary blood pressure reduction medication.
Blood – Blood is the most frequent type of fluid used for an IV infusion. It’s usually given to patients who are on a long-term medication which has caused their blood pressure to rise in the past.
When to Give an IV Infusion
There are many situations when it’s necessary to give an IV infusion, but for the most basic list, we have “when to give an IV infusion” below. The nurse administering the infusion should be aware of the patient’s medical history and be prepared to give assistance if necessary. In some situations, it’s necessary to give an IV infusion when the patient is:
Unconscious – In cases of cardiopulmonary arrest, you’ll be responsible for monitoring the patient’s vital signs, giving them oxygen, and giving them medications as needed to keep them from becoming too ill.
On a low-dose medication – Many pain medications come with a low-dose formulation which is suitable for patients with mild to moderate pain. However, if the pain is great enough to be discomforting and lasts longer than 3-4 hours, you should call your doctor.
With abdominal pain – An abdominal (stomach) pain is usually a result of an ongoing condition such as stomach cancer, diverticulitis, or bowel cancer. You should always call your doctor in these situations, but an IV infusion may be appropriate.
With a high fever – Many people with fevers of 103 or higher are given an IV infusion to slow down the body’s metabolism and reduce the likelihood of a raised body temperature.
With increased heart rate – If a heart rate of more than 120 BPM (beats per minute) is present for 48 hours or longer, you should call your doctor to get a referral for an IV infusion.
With a low blood pressure – Blood pressure should be monitored closely in all patients, but especially in those who are on heart medication. Low blood pressure, or hypotension, is usually accompanied by an increased heart rate and a drop in blood pressure which may be indicative of a stroke or a heart attack.
With blurred vision – Blurred vision is a common side effect of medications such as tylenol or codeine, which can cause drowsiness. However, if the drowsiness persists for more than 24 hours, you should call your doctor.
What Patients Should Expect from an IV Infusion
As you begin to work as an IV infusion nurse, you’ll likely be called upon to manage a variety of conditions which may or may not have a clear medical explanation. Some of the commonly encountered conditions which may require an IV infusion are:
Upper respiratory infections – The common cold is a good example of a condition which usually requires an IV infusion.
Nausea and vomiting – Nausea and vomiting are both symptoms which indicate a need for an IV infusion. If the nausea lasts for more than 12 hours and there’s vomiting, it’s likely a patient needs an IV infusion.
Bronchiolitis – Bronchiolitis is an inflammation of the bronchi which can result in a low blood pressure. In this case, an IV infusion will help to prevent a stroke.
Pneumonia – This is a common infection which can be hard on the lungs and often results in a low blood pressure. An IV infusion will help to prevent a stroke in this situation.
Malaria – This is a condition which may or may not have a specific cause. Malaria is caused by a parasitic protozoan which infects many different species of animals and humans. If a patient has this condition, an IV infusion may be required to prevent a stroke.
Chronic Fatigue – Fatigue is a common condition which can occur with chronic diseases such as fibromyalgia or chronic pain. You may be called on to give an IV infusion to help to maintain a normal sleep-wake cycle.
Medications for an IV Infusion
There are many different types of medications which can be used for an intravenous (IV) infusion, and you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the different types to be able to properly administer them. Here are some of the most common types of medications used for an IV infusion:
Aids in the Management of Acute Cardiac Hypertension Anti-Arrhythmic Medications Anti-inflammatory Agents Antipsychotics Amitriptyline Aspirin Atorvastatin Cefixime Ceftriaxone Celecoxib Dapsone Fluazosin Fluticasone Hepatotoxics Imidazoles Indoles Isoniazid Ketoconazole Lamivudines Malarone Mevalasteride Micronor Moxifloxacin Naproxen Rifampin Sulphasalin Tamsulosin xanax
Follow-up Care After a Vascular Intensive Care Unit (VICU) Visit
After a patient has been admitted to the hospital and is being discharged, you may notice a rise in questions from family and friends. You’ll want to be prepared for these questions so you can answer them appropriately. It’s important to remember that you’re not required to provide information about your patient’s medical history to anyone, including their family members. You can reply to questions as you see fit, but you’re not required to do so.
Some questions you may be asked include: How is my patient doing now?
Why did you start giving this medication?
How often should I give this medication?
What would you recommend I do if I haven’t responded well to medication?
How should I take this medication?
Is there anything you would recommend I avoid?
Tips for Beginners in the Field of IV Infusion Nursing
If you’ve been aching to get into the field of IV infusion nursing for a while, but haven’t quite been ready for it, this may be the guide for you.