1. Alexander, Mary MA, RN, CRNI(R), CAE, FAAN

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During 2017 and INS' observance of the 40th anniversary of the Journal of Infusion Nursing 's launch, we celebrated some of the close partnerships INS has formed with individuals and organizations who share, each in their own way, our commitment to the infusion community.

Mary Alexander, MA, ... - Click to enlarge in new windowMary Alexander, MA, RN, CRNI(R), CAE, FAAN INS Chief Executive Officer Editor,

So, it's only fitting that we conclude our special series with longtime friend and colleague Michael Cohen, president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP). For more than 2 decades, he has written a widely read column on medication safety practices for INS' bimonthly newsletter, Newsline. Most recently, ISMP reviewed and provided insightful feedback during the development of the 2016 Infusion Therapy Standards of Practice.1


ISMP is the nation's only nonprofit organization devoted entirely to medication error prevention and safe medication use. Its mission is to advance patient safety worldwide by empowering the health care community to prevent medication errors. Its website,, offers a wide array of resources related to medication safety, including access to a voluntary practitioner error-reporting program; newsletters; educational programs; medication safety tools, such as lists of high-alert drugs; and confidential consulting services to health care systems.


A major component of infusion practice involves familiarity with intravenous solutions and medications, which naturally connects infusion nurses and pharmacists. Both value the knowledge and expertise the other discipline offers, and both bring their very best efforts and highest commitment to the patients in their care. Infusion nurses rely on pharmacists for information about the properties and characteristics of drugs, dilution, the creation of drug libraries for smart pumps, drug incompatibilities and side effects, and the interventions to treat them. Pharmacists are key in designing dosing regimens, especially in alternative care settings, such as infusion clinics and homes, when a daily dose would be more reasonable for the patient rather than multiple doses over the course of a day.


Over the years, ISMP has invited INS to participate in medication safety initiatives. Recently, I was 1 of 55 participants at ISMP's Adult IV Push Medication Safety Summit, which created a guidance document, "ISMP Safe Practice Guidelines for Adult IV Push Medications."2 The aim of the document was to "identify the risks, examine the current evidence, and make recommendations for safer practices associated with adult IV push injection preparation and administration."2(p1) It also identified and described "a number of unresolved issues that impacted the safety of IV push injection practices."2(p1) ISMP also has developed a "High-Alert Medication Safety Assessment," which should be available by the end of this year. INS has endorsed this tool, as well.


Whether prescribing, preparing, or administering medications, ensuring patient safety is the highest priority for nurses and pharmacists. We know that IV medication delivery is fraught with risk, because it necessitates the direct administration of drugs and solutions into patients' bloodstreams with the potential for immediate patient response. It's key that we collaborate with health care professionals to minimize confusion about conflicting statements from different disciplines.


INS values ISMP's work and our collaboration over the years. Together, we're making an impact on safe practice and the lives of the patients we serve.


Mary Alexander




1. Gorski L, Hadaway L, Hagle ME, McGoldrick M, Orr M, Doellman D. Infusion therapy standards of practice. J Infus Nurs. 2016;39(Suppl 1):S1-S159. [Context Link]


2. Institute for Safety Medication Practices. ISMP Safe Practice Guidelines for Adult IV Push Medications. Horsham, PA: Institute for Safety Medication Practices; 2015. [Context Link]