1. Fabian, Beth BA, RN, CRNI(R)

Article Content

This year we are celebrating 30 years of the Journal of Infusion Nursing. The Journal is filled with clinical articles and research studies that validate the mission, standards, and nursing practices for infusion therapy in all practice settings. This anniversary offers each of us a moment to reflect upon our own growth and development within our chosen profession of nursing and the specialty of infusion therapy. For some of us, it is startling to realize that we have been practicing our profession for more than 30 years. It is amazing how the practice of infusion therapy has changed during that time.

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The first hyperalimentation patient whom I cared for as a student nurse was a young woman, post-cesarean section, with a nonhealing abdominal surgical wound. The patient was unable to eat and was placed on hyperalimentation feedings. It was necessary to place the patient in intensive care, because hyperalimentation was considered a critical, therapeutic intervention. Soon, total parenteral nutrition (TPN) was a mainstay for therapeutic management of Crohn's disease and many other gastrointestinal dysfunctions. Eventually, patients were "trained" for several weeks in the hospital on how to set up, infuse, and manage their TPN before transitioning them to the home setting. Today, patients can be started on TPN in their homes without the need for an initial hospital admission to begin therapy and teach them.


Times change, and the management of infusion patients continues to advance with the development of new technologies, specialized access devices, high-tech infusion pumps, and new therapeutic treatment modalities. Infusion patients have transitioned from requiring total hospitalization and round-the-clock nursing to high-tech home infusion management by skilled infusion professionals. Patients can successfully recover from illness with a reduced incidence of a complication or of acquiring a nosocomial infection due to the advancements in infusion technology and the skill of infusion specialists. The practice setting may be a hospital, clinic, doctor's office, infusion center, or a patient's home. The infusion nursing specialist makes a positive impact on the improved quality of the patient care outcomes.


Infusion therapy has changed dramatically over the past 30 years in the hospital setting. Hospitals that started with a single IV nurse to place catheters have transitioned to full-service 24/7 IV teams. Many of these IV teams have been eliminated, however, there is still a need for IV expertise in hospitals and alternative settings. This need has resulted in the resurgence of the new infusion specialist, who serves as an expert consultant for vascular access. The clinical infusion specialist can be an expert in peripheral IV access and high-tech ultrasound PICC insertion. Nurses can seek professional recognition as the clinical expert in infusion therapy by becoming credentialed in infusion therapy after successfully passing the Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation (INCC) credentialing examination to achieve the designation Certified Registered Nurse Infusion-CRNI(R).


The 21st century has provided increased opportunities for infusion nurses to become involved in research and clinical studies to support and enhance the practice of infusion therapy. This evidence-based practice model validates the role of the highly skilled infusion specialist with knowledge of vascular access devices, new drug therapies, and high-tech ultrasound vascular access placement. As the baby boom generation ages and the "mature" generation requires increasing amounts of medical care, the infusion specialist will continue to be in demand.


The Journal of Infusion Nursing continues to provide the most current knowledge and research in the practice of infusion therapy. Nurses in all practice settings-in any country-can read the Journal of Infusion Nursing to gain insights into infusion therapy practice standards and the promotion of quality patient outcomes based on the latest research data. It is apparent from my visits to other countries and talking with nurses from around the world that all infusion nurses share a love for our chosen area of expertise. The techniques and equipment may differ, but the Standards of Practice are the same, and the ultimate goal of positive patient outcomes is universal.


The National Intravenous Therapy Association (NITA) was formed by a group of infusion nurses who were dedicated to promoting the specialty practice of infusion therapy and quality patient care. Now, 35 years later, the Infusion Nurses Society (INS) is committed to that legacy by continuing to set the standard for the specialty of infusion therapy. Today, INS provides education and assistance to clinicians across the country and around the world. Nurses, physicians, and students can learn to perfect their IV skills by attending seminars and training sessions at work and on-line, at special skills fairs, by completing self-study modules, and through some nursing schools.


The INS Annual Meeting and Industrial Exhibition has become an international gathering of clinicians. This event provides the opportunity to network and collaborate with colleagues from around the world and focuses the essential issues for quality standards in infusion clinical practice. INS has become a global force, with an international reputation for promoting quality practice in infusion therapy through the Journal of Infusion Nursing, Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, Infusion Therapy in Clinical Practice, many other publications, and its worldwide infusion clinician network.


The first IV nurses who came together to form NITA did so with the common purpose of forming an organization focused on the protection of patients by promoting a standard of practice for the safe, efficient, quality practice of infusion nursing. The determination and dedication of those founders started this fledgling organization down a path that has led us to the world-class organization that INS is today.


The Journal of Infusion Nursing and INS have expanded the image of infusion therapy on a global scale, but it does not always take an organization to influence our daily practice. Each of us, as individuals, touches and inspires those around us. It is through these interactions that we may actively strive to mentor others to stop, smile, speak, and share the knowledge of a subject for which we share a passion. The legacy of NITA-and the continuing challenge of INS-is to maintain a forward-looking spirit, seek new knowledge, and expand the role of the infusion specialist through evidence-based practice of infusion nursing. INS and all of its members are advancing the vision of infusion therapy beyond a local or national perspective to a positive, proactive, international force in the worldwide practice of infusion therapy.


I am honored to be member of an organization with a strong commitment to its core mission and its membership. I look to the future with great hope for the journey ahead and for a Journal filled with new discoveries and an INS history that is yet to be written.