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IV Therapy Training for Nurses: Program Options and Requirements

Read about intravenous (IV) therapy training for nurses. Learn about program prerequisites, course topics, employment statistics for vocational nurses and options for IV therapy certification.

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Essential Information

Registered nurses (RNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) use intravenous therapy to transport liquid medication and sedatives directly into patients' veins. Most nurses gain IV therapy training through their nursing degree or certificate programs. However, some choose to complete an IV Therapy Certificate program or standalone course as an introduction or refresher on the practice.

LVNs are the nurses most likely to practice IV therapy in hospitals and healthcare settings. Some community colleges offer certificate programs that are specifically designed to meet their state's requirements for LVNs to practice IV therapy. 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.

Education Prerequisites

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.

Program Coursework

IV therapy programs are vocational programs and contain only those courses that relate specifically to the process of IV therapy. Courses commonly found in such a program include:

  • IV therapy for LVNs
  • Circulatory system
  • Infection control
  • IV medications
  • Allergic reactions
  • Medication breakdown
  • Legal documentation

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

More than 752,000 licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses worked in nursing care facilities, hospitals and other healthcare centers in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary in the field as of May 2012 was $41,540. The top-paying states in the occupation were Connecticut, Nevada and Alaska.

Certification Options

Each state has its own certification requirements for nurses who administer IV therapy. Some certificate programs in the field contain an examination at the end of the courses. Students who pass the examination are eligible to have their nursing licensure updated to reflect their certification in IV therapy.

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