1. Salvage, Jane RGN, BA, MSc, HonLLD

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FIGURE With nearly 9 in 10 hospital patients undergoing some form of infusion therapy, developing and maintaining the highest possible standards of practice is a responsibility that influences the lives of millions of people every day. The consequences of poor practice can be unpleasant, painful, and even fatal, whereas excellent infusion therapy (although never an experience anyone would exactly welcome) is physically and psychologically beneficial and often, of course, a lifesaver.

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In the half century or so since nurses in the United States first started managing infusions, as distinct from assisting the physician, the range and complexity of the therapies has changed beyond recognition, and intravenous nursing is now a well-developed specialty. It has always had a high-tech image. Television and movie dramas, then and now, love to show patients with dozens of lines, gasping their last breath in intensive care or being wheeled at breakneck speed to the operating theater.


Nurses in countries that cannot afford expensive equipment or drugs, where hospitals are rundown and impoverished, may envy the US nurse and see the specialty of IV nursing as a luxury, rather than a necessity. The articles in this international issue of the Journal of Intravenous Nursing should persuade them otherwise.


This issue also may help us all to see that nurses have more in common worldwide than appearances suggest. For example, hospital care in poor countries is mainly for the rich or for city dwellers, but developed countries are now recognizing that hospital care should be the last resort. Infusion therapy is increasingly given in a community clinic or at home, as patients who need regular infusion therapy or their caregivers learn how to administer it themselves, ensuring that the time, the place, and the therapy are tuned to their individual needs.


This requires nurses to take on the role of teacher, sharing their expertise with the patient and caregiver using the skills of communication, empathy, and empowerment. At the same time they must keep abreast of all relevant developments in equipment, medications, and techniques. Professional links are invaluable in this endless process of lifelong learning, and we can learn from each other on a global basis. The issues with which nurses in all countries grapple are universal, such as how to choose the best equipment for each individual patient, what in-service training is effective, and how to ensure correct procedures are taught and followed.


The role of the nurse in Russia may seem light years away from his or her counterpart in Turkey, Australia, or the United Kingdom. But beyond the differences of language, culture, and uniform, our visions, values, and aspirations are remarkably similar-like the principles of good nursing. Not everything you will read about in this issue meets the INS Standards of Practice to which all nurses practicing infusion therapy should aspire. However, the authors are committed to achieving the best possible care, and by sharing their experience, they encourage us to reflect on our own practice. They help to raise the status of the profession, especially in countries where the nurse is still seen as a mere medical assistant. And they remind us that we are all members of a global nursing community that exchanges information and support to help heal patients and encourage nurses worldwide.