Advocating for patients with an infusion alliance
Kathleen Marie Wilson MPH, BSN, CRNI

February 2014 
Volume 44  Number 2
Pages 68 - 69
  PDF Version Available!

CLINICAL NURSES can advocate for patients' vascular access needs with these key steps: * maintaining an up-to-date knowledge base * performing early and regular assessments * communicating effectively.This article explains how nurses can take these critical measures to advocate for their patients appropriately and then develop an infusion alliance to make sure patients receive care based on best practices. Detailed steps for creating such an alliance are provided.Hospital-based clinical nurses can influence the choice of vascular access device (VAD) for their patients. The first element in advocating for patients is nurses' knowledge; an understanding of VADs' key elements is critical. Knowledge can be acquired by: * reading medical and nursing literature * attending conferences * earning continuing-education credits * joining and actively participating in professional associations * achieving certification.For more ideas, see Tapping infusion and vascular access resources.Assessments of VAD functionality and appropriateness for the patient must be shared with the healthcare provider. Remember that, as patient advocates, nurses are responsible for communicating and sharing information. Although the provider isn't with the patient 24/7, nurses are. Optimal patient care is provided through collegiality and teamwork.1 Colleagues in infection prevention and control, radiology, discharge planning, and pharmacy are just a few professionals who could be involved.Communication also includes information that's shared from nurse to nurse. Whether mentoring a new graduate, sharing information on best practices, giving report, or attending to vascular issues promptly and proactively, nurses demonstrate and reinforce the importance of thorough VAD assessment.Documentation is a type of communication that's essential for safe VAD management. Documenting the chronology of assessments can help nurses determine a plan of care. The Infusion Nurses Society phlebitis scale is one tool that

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