Is an IV Insertion Class or IV Certification a Requirement for RNs?

Proper education in IV catheter insertions as part of becoming credentialed in IV insertion procedures is a standard of practice in infusion nursing. It is recommended by national infusion, vascular access, infectious disease, and regulatory organizations guiding our practice. I got fired up today over a discussion I saw posted on the web. My interest peaked as I read a discussion in which an experienced RN advised a new grad that education in insertion of an IV catheter was not necessary prior to being clinically supervised in a few insertion procedures. I found this to be a bit irresponsible especially since education is so readily accessible to most of us.

It may be true that it was common in the past, and unfortunately true still that some RNs do not take training classes to insert IV catheters. It is better to be trained, and here is why: Although insertion of a peripheral IV catheter is a routine nursing procedure that may be performed several times in one nursing shift (depending on the work setting); we should not forget that IV insertion procedures are invasive procedures with the potential to cause patient injury. Frankly, some nurses have poor venipuncture and IV catheter insertion skills. At best poor skills may result in being unable to insert a catheter in a patient with good venous access, and at worst poor skills can cause a patient complication.

IV access guidelines and standards change and are updated frequently, and we’ve come a long way from the days of “see one, do one” for our IV access nursing skills orientation. It may not be a necessity for RNs to take a privately run class when employer run programs are available. Hospitals in general have come a long way and are aware of the value of teaching new nurses good techniques in this area, and they will often employ a nurse IV specialist (or a vendor) that is involved in the development of policy and education in infusion therapy and IV access. An IV insertion class is often part of a new grad’s or other new nurse employee’s orientation education. This needs to occur before the new nurse performs clinically supervised initial insertions.

For those nurses out there considering whether to take a class or not; I’d advise that if your employer does not offer an education program- seek one out on your own. Doing what it takes to become more knowledgeable in nursing procedures is just good nursing practice. The majority of the attendees to our IV insertion courses are experienced RNs who seek out the education on their own. If you have considered taking an IV insertion course and decide not to take a class; I’d suggest reviewing policy and procedures at your employing facility prior to precepting in the procedure. If I were a new grad today; I would also obtain and review a copy of the Infusion Nurses Society (INS) Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice. Most U. S. health care facility IV therapy departments should have a copy. A copy can be purchased from the INS online.

2 comments to Is an IV Insertion Class or IV Certification a Requirement for RNs?

  • Hello Ms. Loraus, We don’t offer that class yet, we hope to have it available soon. However, I am sure that you’d like to get started soon so I have forwarded your request to a great company that does offer it. You should hear from them very soon.

  • I am looking for classes to help out our procedural nurses in obtaining certification in sono guided IV access. Can you please help me with this or send me to the correct website?

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