1. Hankins, Judy BSN, CRNI(R)

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When accepting the gavel as President of the National Intravenous Therapy Association (NITA) in 1978, I described the field of intravenous therapy as a "waking giant." Little did I know how true this statement would be as NITA became a viable specialty practice organization for infusion nursing. The organization, the profession, and the journal have been on a parallel path for the past 30 years. The names of our professional organization and journal have made changes over the years to reflect day-to-day practice. The organization has advanced from NITA to the Intravenous Nurses Society (INS) and is now the Infusion Nurses Society (INS), while the journal has moved from NITA to the Journal of Infusion Nursing. The changes reflect the previous focus on "intravenous" therapy to encompassing the current overall practice of "infusion" therapy.

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The early years of the organization were spent in building a solid foundation through developing the constitution and by-laws, forming chapters, and providing educational opportunities. Education became a prime focus as the organization searched for ways to provide the most current information enabling nurses to practice quality intravenous therapy. IV nurse leaders envisioned that all nurses practicing the specialty, no matter where, would be exposed to the same high level of education.


As we nudged the "giant," the National Committee of Education (NCOE) was born. In addition to developing an annual meeting, the NCOE initiated sponsorship of 6 2-day seminars across the country, beginning in September 1979. These seminars were identical in content and were presented by the same IV experts.


Education was further addressed in July 1977 at a special NITA board meeting. John Wehner of Medical Publications at the J. B. Lippincott Company presented a proposed agreement for a NITA-owned journal. Needless to say, there was a sense of excitement along with a little uneasiness. Were we waking the "giant" too early? The board unanimously approved the agreement, and Georgia Brakke was named the first editor. In late September 1977, Claire Watson, the NITA President, notified the publisher of The American Journal of Intravenous Therapy that NITA would be publishing its own journal. The premier issue of the NITA journal made its debut in January 1978. What a great way to start a new year!! The new publication was and continues to be designated the organization's "official journal."


It is interesting to note that many of the topics included in the early editions of the journal continue to be a part of the current publication. Subjects covered in the first edition were "Outpatient Intravenous Antibiotic Therapy"; "Nurse Involvement: Key to Success of the IV Admixture/Therapy Program"; "What Patients Expect from the I.V. Therapist"; and "I.V. Team Development: Quality and Cost." I think the earlier volumes contained a greater focus on IV teams, including need, justification, development, and staffing. The other articles were similar to current subjects, with a difference in the complexity and depth of the topic. Early on, the articles included very basic information. As the organization grew, the journal provided a more intricate study of disease states, treatment, and technology. Infusion nurses have become more involved in research and have shared their findings in our journal. We, the experts, have always understood the importance of teaching each other, which is why the journal has been included in the organization's membership package. We have accomplished this information-sharing through educational meetings and through our journal.


Remembering back over the past 30 years of our great organization has not been an easy task. I spent a lot of time looking through my collection of NITA memorabilia. This search brought back memories of the many dedicated individuals who performed a "labor of love" as we attempted to decrease the "giant's" state of somnolence. It proves that working as a team of intravenous/infusion nurses has made and continues to make a valuable difference in the lives of our patients. This difference can now be seen around the world.


The "waking giant" that I described in the organization's infancy has become reality. NITA, begun in 1973, certainly has overcome many obstacles. Our organization is now challenged to work toward the goal of all healthcare facilities having an infusion nurses team, expanding our knowledge/practice base, and continually sharing our expertise. The Journal of Infusion Nursing remains a viable way to advance the specialty of infusion nursing. I am always happy when I hear that an infusion nurse would like to publish an article and wants to know how to make that happen. There are many infusion experts who are willing to lend a hand; help is only a call away. I challenge all of you to become involved so that you too will have the honor of writing about the history and the great accomplishments of the Infusion Nurses Society.