Should I Become an Infusion Nurse?
These professionals are a specialized group of registered nurses (RNs). Infusion nursing is the practice of administering treatment, including medication, fluids and blood, through injections. Nurses often spend many work hours standing and sometimes have to lift or move patients.
|Degree Level||Associate degree, bachelor's degree recommended|
|Licensure and Certification||License required in all states, certification is voluntary|
|Experience||Infusion therapy experience is required for certification|
|Key Skills||Attention to detail; good communication, organization and critical thinking skills, computer skills through software to record patient records, use equipment to monitor patient vital signs, compassion, and patience|
|Salary (2015)||$66,715 per year (median annual income for RN Infusion Therapists)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation, O Net Online, PayScale.com
Step 1: Earn a Nursing Degree
Aspiring nurses can begin their education by pursuing a 2-year associate's degree in nursing (ADN) or 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program. The ADN program offers much of the same course load as the BSN, minus some liberal arts courses. Both offer hands-on experience, including the kind needed to become an infusion nurse, such as working with intravenous lines, performing blood work, and providing medication through injection. Diploma programs, although harder to find, are also available in hospitals around the U.S. These programs usually take 2-3 years to complete.
Step 2: Become a Registered Nurse (RN)
Upon completion of a nursing program, one must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN). The test covers four major areas: psychosocial integrity, physiological integrity, safe and effective care environment, and health promotion and maintenance. In order to sit for the RN test, individuals must be cleared by the certifying state's board of nursing. To be eligible, one must provide proof of graduation from one of the previously mentioned nursing programs.
Step 3: Gain Clinical Experience
Once nurses have completed an accredited nursing program and passed the NCLEX-RN exam, they are eligible to begin working as RNs. New registered nurses can begin as general staff nurses; this allows for as much clinical exposure as possible before selecting a specialty. The potential infusion nurse can make it a point to practice the particular skills needed for providing intravenous fluids and performing injections and blood transfusions. A number of areas of medicine can provide the clinical experience necessary for infusion nursing, including pre- and post-surgery, oncology, pediatrics, and geriatrics.
Step 4: Obtain Infusion Nurse Certification
The Certified Registered Nurse Infusion (CRNI) credential, offered by the Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation (INCC), is the only nationally-recognized certification for infusion nurses. The CRNI exam covers pharmacology, technology and clinical applications, fluid and electrolyte therapy, transfusion therapy, and infection prevention. Other areas covered include biologic therapy, quality improvement and pediatrics.
Step 5: Career Advancement
Earning infusion nurse certification may result in more responsibility, increased salary, and career advancement opportunities. Many of the RNs who obtain their CRNI credential become test proctors, facilitators, teachers, or even mentors to others who are preparing to become infusion nurses.