1. Alexander, Mary MA, RN, CRNI

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Welcome to another new year and another celebration for INS. The year 2008 marks the 35th anniversary of the founding of the National Intravenous Therapy Association (NITA-which became the Intravenous Nurses Society, subsequently the Infusion Nurses Society [INS]), and in those 35 years we've come a long way.

Figure. Mary Alexand... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Mary Alexander, MA, RN, CRNI

INS has grown tremendously since Ada Plumer, RN, and Marguerite Knight, RN, met with 14 other nurses and a technician at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on January 25 and 26, 1973. At that time, infusion nursing-or intravenous nursing, as it was called-was only beginning to emerge as an area of specialty nursing. Most IV skills were learned on the job, and there was a dearth of products, educational programs, and services for IV nurses. There were no journals addressing IV therapy until NITA, the forerunner of the Journal of Infusion Nursing, appeared in 1978.


With the advent of NITA, everything changed for IV nurses. NITA gave IV nurses an opportunity to network with colleagues from around the country, and eventually from around the world. National, then chapter meetings offered members the opportunity to upgrade their skills and earn continuing nursing education credits. In 1985, the CRNI(R) Examination was offered for the first time, formally acknowledging the specialty with a distinctive credential.


There have been so many changes in our practice since INS was founded-new devices, more potent drugs, and great leaps in the use of new technology. Patients are surviving longer than ever. And the introduction of evidence-based practice has greatly improved our specialty.


INS promotes evidence-based practice in order to give patients the most appropriate care. The concept must be implemented by infusion professionals so that the specialty can continue to advance and achieve good outcomes. Nonetheless, the fundamental principles we learned in nursing school are just as important as promoting best practices. Therefore, we need to blend or integrate our basic knowledge with advanced skills and expertise.


INS is the premier organization for infusion care, and education is INS' number-one priority. We continue to look for new and innovative ways to reach out to members with our educational programming. The Annual Meeting, National Academy of Infusion Therapy, and the One-day Program all provide the specialized education that keeps infusion nurses on top of the latest in technology and research. In the coming year, we will unveil new, high-tech programs that make it easier than ever to access INS' educational sessions, without leaving your home or office.


INS' reputation for excellence has also made it possible to direct the infusion specialty practice through the publication of the Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, which is updated as technology and research advance; Policies and Procedures for Infusion Nursing; and the many publications and products that are essential to the specialty.


In years past, IV nurses used positive anecdotes to defend their positions. Now, it is possible to articulate a business case to justify the practice of the infusion specialty and to develop IV teams. CD-ROMs produced by INS make it possible for nurses to view step-by-step infusion therapy practices informed by the Standards of Practice. And study aids produced by our sister organization, the Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation (INCC), help RNs prepare for the rigorous CRNI(R) Examination.


The Journal of Infusion Nursing, INS Newsline, and the many other publications and products available through INS have all been developed over the 35 years of our existence. We may have changed our name a few times, but our core mission has remained constant-we address members' needs so that we can achieve excellence in patient care.


As I'm sure many of you have found, being a member of INS means being part of a community. It offers a chance to network with other infusion professionals in hospitals, homecare, infusion centers, and industry. The number of infusion professionals who find value in INS membership is growing steadily. Nearly 6,000 of us, from all around the world, find professional and personal satisfaction through our connection with INS.


We do our best to respond to members' needs by offering the programs, products, and services that you want and request for every type of infusion practice. Your input and feedback are always welcome.


Our members have shared much of their knowledge, skills, and expertise over the years.


By writing for the Journal of Infusion Nursing and INS Newsline, presenting at national and chapter meetings, and mentoring new nurses, you contribute to the growth and advancement of the infusion specialty.


I look forward to the future of INS with great anticipation. As the organization and the infusion specialty grow, I welcome the challenge of addressing the needs of our members while maintaining our special place at the core of the healthcare profession.


So here's to another 35 years of membership growth and advancement of the specialty practice!! And a special thanks to our members, without whom we would not be here.


Mary Alexander, MA, RN, CRNI


CAE INS Chief Executive Officer Editor, Journal of Infusion Nursing