The Intravenous Nurse Specialist's Role in the Evolving Health Care Environment
The Intravenous Nurses Society contends that intravenous nurse specialists should be involved wherever infusion therapies are delivered. Although the evolving health care environment has led to an increased number of practice settings, the need for quality patient care is still paramount. Intravenous nurse specialists have the skill and expertise to ensure competent practice, as well as the ability to keep costs down.
Background The Intravenous Nurses Society contends that intravenous nurse specialists should be involved wherever infusion therapies are delivered. Although the evolving health care environment has led to an increased number of practice settings, the need for quality patient care is still paramount. Intravenous nurse specialists have the skill and expertise to ensure competent practice, as well as the ability to keep costs down.
Discussion Since President Clinton's Health Care Task Force placed health care in the national spotlight, there has been much discussion on reform. Today, such concepts as managed care, capitation, and fee-for-service have become commonplace. With the evolving health care system comes concerns of cost containment. More specifically, some have questioned whether cost and quality would prove mutually exclusive. The Intravenous Nurses Society believes that by the utilization of highly trained and competent practitioners, lowered cost and heightened quality, regardless of practice setting, can both flourish. That is, the use of intravenous nurse specialists leads to such incidents as a lowered number of venipuncture restarts, lower phlebitis rates, and reduced IV complications, as well as decreased liabilities. By using their expertise, intravenous nurse specialists lead to benefits in both quality and cost. As the frequency of infusion therapy continues to rise, the demand for competent intravenous practitioners also increases. To meet this demand, it is imperative the there are highly trained and knowledgeable intravenous nurses involved in the placing, monitoring, and assessment of intravenous products.
The evolving health care system has led to an increasing number of practice settings. The intravenous nurse specialist not only has a role in the changing health care environment but has unprecedented opportunity. Although many continue to find employment in hospitals, such areas as subacute care centers, ambulatory care centers, long-term care facilities, home infusion centers, and home health agencies require increasing numbers of qualified intravenous nurses. In these settings, nurses are employed in such positions as clinicians, consultants, prime educators, and administrators to name just a few. The skills intravenous nurse specialists bring to the job are not only important but increasingly needed.
First and foremost, under any health care system, nurses serve as patient advocates. The best way to help patients is by constantly enhancing one's knowledge of improved methods of practice. Nurses who specialize in infusion therapy and who affiliate with specialty organizations that offer continuing education programs have access to the newest techniques and technologies. In these programs, nurses gain first-hand experience about the latest devices on the market as well as learn how to evaluate product performance. This specialized knowledge and expertise, gained both through practice and attending continuing education programs, is essential in the delivery of IV therapy.
Position The evolving health care environment has led to increasing numbers of practice settings. INS believes that regardless of practice setting, it is necessary to have intravenous nurse specialists involved with the practice of intravenous therapy. These nurses have the skill and expertise to administer quality care. With specialization comes quality. Also, as cost becomes an increasing concern, the utilization of intravenous nurse specialists allows for increased quality and decreased cost to coexist. That is , as quality increases and incidents such as venipuncture restarts, phlebitis, and related IV complications decrease, costs go down. Knowledgeable and experienced in the assessment, administration, and evaluation of intravenous therapies, intravenous nurse specialists will continue to play a vital and increasingly important role in the changing health care arena.