1. Alexander, Mary MA, RN, CRNI(R), CAE, FAAN
  2. INS Chief Executive Officer Editor, Journal of Infusion Nursing

Article Content

Infusion nurses are adept at using the latest technology to provide the best experience while interacting face-to-face with their patients. The need for human touch is ingrained in our DNA. We understand that infusion therapy can be frightening for some patients, no matter their age or type and length of treatment. Whether it's placing a warm hand on a patient's arm or making meaningful eye contact, the human connection goes a long way in easing fears and providing comfort. Nurses are often wearing at least 2 pairs of gloves with no skin-to-skin contact; a soft pat or small squeeze can be reassuring. Fully garbed, with only their eyes visible, some clinicians are placing pictures of themselves on their gowns in hopes to make each encounter more personal.

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

Practice that was so commonplace before has significantly changed due to COVID-19. We're used to wearing PPE-gowns, gloves, masks, face shields-however, many challenges have arisen during this pandemic. Recognizing the principles of infection prevention and the significance they have on caring for patients with COVID-19, the use of PPE has been required for all health care professionals. Communication with patients can be difficult, especially through an N-95 mask. For procedures such as central line placement, patients who are able are being asked to wear masks as well. Extra attention will be needed when providing education and giving instructions, so the patient is able to participate and understand appropriately. We also need to be aware of the noise level in the ICUs and how that may affect our patients.


Limiting the number of times one enters a patient's room is a strategy to minimize spread of the virus; however, an unintended consequence is the isolation a patient may experience. Visitor policies for hospitalized patients have varied, but for a time, patients weren't allowed any, so their health care team was their only human interaction. While obtaining informed consents, nurses have used their cell phones or iPads to allow patients to talk with and see their families. Infusion-related procedures may be time-intensive, which gives us the chance to talk with these patients and provide something they may be missing-just having a conversation. We've heard several stories of nurses who were present when their patient died without family members present. These nurses were there when others couldn't be, a comfort that families have greatly appreciated.


The pandemic has shed light on the impact nurses have on patient care, yet this is what nurses do on a daily basis. Nurses in the United States and around the world have answered the call to care for patients infected with COVID-19 in every imaginable setting, including hospitals, home care, outpatient clinics, long-term care facilities, and testing sites. All nursing roles, including direct care staff, managers, nurse educators, and researchers, make a difference in the lives of patients, health care colleagues, and in the community. As this unprecedented pandemic unfolds around the world, infusion nurses are committed to caring for patients, providing education, leading teams, caring for each other, and protecting the public. Visit for some amazing firsthand accounts of what our members have encountered during this crisis.


INS is honored to recognize your contributions, as well as your personal and professional experiences, during the COVID-19 pandemic-where the human touch is not forgotten in these high-tech settings. Thank you for your courage, compassion, dedication, and all you do each day!


Mary Alexander