1. Alexander, Mary BS, CRNI

Article Content

FIGURE This month's Journal of Intravenous Nursing contains six articles that explore a variety of hematologic practice issues. Advanced clinical knowledge of the morphology, physiology, and pathology of blood is valuable to the infusion nurse in many ways. Hematology provides the foundation for transfusion therapy, one of the nine core content areas of infusion nursing specialty practice. Many blood-related disorders require intravenous therapy delivery. And accurate, effective blood sampling often is the responsibility of the infusion nurse specialist. The material presented here is not all-encompassing of the vast field of hematology, but identifies specific aspects of care for certain conditions and diseases. Studies of anemia and hemophilia provide excellent reviews of cell morphology and inherited coagulopathic states. Research is rapidly expanding in the area of substitute blood products, but we remain largely dependent on boosting the natural development of blood, and thus will benefit from a greater understanding of the hematopoietic system.

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Transfusion of blood and its components has long since left the exclusive domain of the acute care setting and is gaining widespread acceptance in multiple care settings-including homecare, long-term care facilities, and physician's offices. As infusion nurse specialists, we must broaden our understanding of hematology to safely and effectively deliver transfusion therapy to our patients. Immunohematology issues and the unique pathology of blood disorders may significantly impact many of the infusion prescriptions and treatments that we provide. It is also important to understand how chronic illnesses such as hemophilia affect the patient psychologically, socially, and materially. Helping a patient and family adjust to a life of chronic treatments is no simple task, and it may well fall to the infusion nurse specialist to conduct patient education and skill validation for self-administration of blood component replacement therapy. The more comprehensive our understanding of the science behind these diagnoses, the more effectively we can treat the disease and care for the patient.


Quality infusion practices are mandated in all practice settings for all patients. This is the mission of the Intravenous Nurses Society. Issues of current knowledge and procedural competency are raised by a research article submitted by our colleagues in Turkey; the message: education is an ongoing and crucial process. Annual reviews and competency validation not only protect our patients and their families but also are invaluable tools in improving performance of all clinical staff throughout the world. I hope that the information shared in this issue will prompt serious evaluation of our own practices related to blood transfusions, blood sample collection, and other clinical applications of hematology.