Registered nurses (RNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) use intravenous therapy to transport liquid medication and sedatives directly into patients' veins. Some community colleges offer certificate programs that are specifically designed to meet their state's requirements for LVNs to practice IV therapy.
IV therapy training programs for nurses are designed for individuals who are licensed in the field of nursing (i.e. passing the NCLEX-RN for nurses and the NCLEX-PN for LPNs). To gain licensure, individuals must first complete an appropriate training program. Incoming students must also have professional experience working in a clinical setting before they apply. Other requirements may vary by state. IV therapy programs are vocational programs and contain only those courses that relate specifically to the process of IV therapy. An exam is usually required at the end of the program.
IV Therapy Training and Certification
IV therapy training programs provide an overview of the IV process and protocols. Students also learn about the physiology of the circulatory system, the particular veins appropriate for IV therapy, the types of medications commonly administered through IV therapy and the proper documentation protocols for administering IV therapy. IV therapy programs are vocational programs and contain only those courses that relate specifically to the process of IV therapy. Common courses include:
- IV therapy for LVNs
- Circulatory system
- Infection control
- IV medications
- Allergic reactions
- Medication breakdown
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Nearly 720,000 licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses worked in nursing care facilities, hospitals and other healthcare centers in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary in the field as of May 2015 was $43,170. The top-paying states in the occupation were Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Alaska. The need for LVN's and LPN's is projected to grow 16% from 2014 to 2024 according to the BLS.
Each state has its own certification requirements for nurses who administer IV therapy. Students who pass the examination are eligible to have their nursing licensure updated to reflect their certification in IV therapy.
For LVN's and LPN's, earning a certificate in IV therapy can improve their employability and teach them valuable skills about working with patients and administering life-saving treatments.