1. Alexander, Mary MA, RN, CRNI(R), CAE, INS Chief Executive Officer, Editor

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As infusion nurses, we know how much our special skills are appreciated by our patients. But not all healthcare professionals understand the need for certified infusion nurses, infusion education, and IV Teams. We must do a better job of communicating the value of the specialty and helping our colleagues learn how to integrate the infusion component into a patient's plan of care.

Figure. Mary Alexand... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Mary Alexander MA, RN, CRNI(R), CAE, INS Chief Executive Officer

Swiftly moving advances in technology and medication development create a critical need for infusion education. Our practice is broad and pervasive throughout the healthcare continuum. Infusion nurses work in a variety of practice settings-hospitals, homes, infusion centers, and rehabilitation facilities. But technological advances provide opportunities for change and a need for greater understanding of infusion therapy.


As new medications are developed, the demand for infusion specialists in physicians' offices has increased. Many medications that had previously been administered by injection or ointment, for example, are now given to the patient intravenously. Clinical research is another area in which infusion therapy expertise is crucial. In some studies, the research process can be tainted by complications associated with incorrect device placement; thus, knowledge of the basic principles of venipuncture is essential in this setting.


Patients, too, should be educated about infusion therapy and the specialty. We care for patients over the course of their entire life span, from neonate to older adult. Once patients learn that infusion specialists can make their treatment much more comfortable, they will be more likely to ask a facility for a CRNI(R) or an IV Team for their infusion. Of course, not all patients are thrilled to have their medications administered intravenously, but the reality is that many of the newest IV drugs being developed are particularly effective treatments for certain conditions. Infusion nurses can make these treatments much more palatable to patients.


Because of this growing need for infusion therapy and proficiency in the specialty, even experienced infusion nurses must maintain competency by keeping informed about the latest medications, delivery methods, vascular access devices, and equipment. Nurses who are unfamiliar with best practice as it relates to infusion therapy and the patients they care for should also keep up with the most up-to-date information about infusion therapy.


INS strives to offer as much of this information as possible, in as many ways as possible. First and foremost are the educational programs at the INS Annual Meeting, Academy of Infusion Therapy, and the special one-day sponsored programs offered in the fall. The topics are designed to be as far-reaching and diverse as possible, ensuring that participants receive a full complement of relevant material. INS chapters, which can be found all over the nation, also provide educational sessions on topics of interest to their members. Manufacturers of infusion devices and pharmaceutical companies that develop medications educate their clients by sponsoring activities, such as breakfast symposia or industrial showcases, that highlight their companies' products and promote their correct use by healthcare professionals.


Finally, because you're reading this issue of the Journal of Infusion Nursing, you're already on the right track. The Journal promotes excellence in infusion nursing by presenting new research, clinical reviews, case studies, and professional development information relevant to infusion nurses. The articles within this publication represent the broad scope of the specialty and draw on the expertise of all healthcare providers who participate in the delivery of infusion therapy. So I hope you'll take the lessons learned from this issue and others and carry them to your workplace to share with other nurses, physicians, and healthcare professionals. Your patients will thank you.


Mary Alexander, MA, RN, CRNI(R), CAE, INS Chief Executive Officer