1. Lonsway, Rose Anne BSN, MA, CRNI(R)

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How often do we get the opportunity to make life-changing decisions? Once made, how often can we look back over many years and know with certainty that it remains one of the best decisions of your life? I have been blessed to be able to say that my decision to specialize in infusion nursing fits all of the above. My nursing career began over 30 years ago at a 1,250-bed tertiary hospital. One of the learning opportunities available to the staff nurses was a 2-day education experience with the IV team. I patiently waited my turn for this experience. The thought of inserting IVs into a real person was anxiety-producing, to say the least. My turn came, and by the end of the 2 days I was hooked!! I applied for the next open position on the team. The education and experience I gained as a part of the IV team have served me well my entire career.

Figure. Rose Anne Lo... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure.

When one has been at something a long time, it is interesting to reflect on how things have changed and how they have remained the same. What has changed? The principal IV access device was the winged stainless-steel needle, or "butterfly" needle. Patients were maintained on IVs for weeks and months at a time using these devices. They were rotated faithfully to prevent complications and preserve the patient's vascular access. It was all we had. The advent of the flexible IV catheter was a cause for celebration!! Intermittent infusion caps followed close behind. Total parenteral nutrition (TPN), given by way of a percutaneously placed subclavian catheter, came into being, and teams were developed to specialize in the care of these patients. Of course, patients remained hospitalized for weeks-if not months-receiving TPN and IV antibiotics. Send patients home on IVs-how could that ever be? Infusion pumps only came on poles and seemed to weigh about 20 pounds each. A typical day consisted of 20 to 30 IV starts and restarts; administering blood and blood products; responding to codes; teaching staff about infusion care; and making rounds twice a day to ensure that the infusion needs of the patients were being met. I sometimes wonder how we did it all. What comes back to me is a sense of making a difference and loving every minute of it.


Somewhere along the line I was introduced to the National Intravenous Therapy Association (NITA) and the local chapter. The national publication at the time was a four- or six-page 8-1/2" x 11" document that came as a foldover. How we waited for its arrival!! It gave us the up-to-date information in the world of IV therapy. This publication was soon followed by the forerunner of the excellent publication you are holding in your hands. How life has changed!! I don't have room here to list all of the changes, but much has remained the same. Then as now, IV nursing specialists make a difference in the lives of those we serve. Armed with state-of-the-art knowledge and technology, infusion nurses practice in a number of settings. Infusion nurses are in the forefront of finding the highest-quality, most cost-effective and efficient methods to deliver high-tech services with caring and compassion. Our specialty organization has paved the way for recognition of infusion nursing around the world. It is rewarding and fulfilling to see INS as an international leader in the science and practice of infusion nursing.


No matter what we are called-IV therapists, IV nurses, infusion nurses, National Intravenous Therapy Association, Intravenous Nurses Society, Infusion Nurses Society-our specialty and its members have changed, adapted, and excelled. This is true because we have always kept our mission in the forefront: to advocate for our patients and our specialty and to set the standard for infusion care. I have never regretted my decision to become an IV nurse. Although my job responsibilities have changed from direct patient care, I remain an IV nurse to my core. I am so proud to be able to use the credential CRNI(R) after my name. When I look back to the beginning of my experience as an IV nurse and look at what our specialty organization has accomplished on behalf of infusion nurses, the people we serve, and the patients I was privileged to care for, I know I made a life-changing decision all those years ago-and it was a good one!!