How to Become an IV Nurse
A career as an IV nurse can be very rewarding, both personally and professionally. Many IV nurses, also known as infusion nurses, choose this career path because it gives them a variety of workplace options — whether that is building a private practice or working as part of a hospital team — while allowing them to do good and help people feel their best.
If you’re considering a career as an IV nurse, this article will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision.
What does an IV Nurse Do?
IV nurses have a critical job: to ensure that patients who need intravenous (IV) therapy get the right care. This includes choosing the best infusion device, starting and maintaining intravenous lines and tubing, and monitoring the patient’s response to the medication or fluid therapy they receive.
Infusion therapy serves a wide variety of needs, so the job of IV nurses is quite diverse. As an infusion nurse, you might administer IV fluids to an athlete who has become dehydrated, perform blood transfusions for the victim of a car accident, provide nutrition through an IV to an elderly person with digestive issues, treat a cancer patient with chemotherapy, and much more.
IV nurses also play an educational role, informing patients and their loved ones on how to maintain IV treatment. This includes everything from teaching patients why they need IV treatment to how to keep tubing or catheters clean to what negative side effects to watch out for. In this sense, IV nurses are also teachers, mentors, patient advocates, and liaisons between the doctor and the patient.
What training and education is required for IV nurses?
1. Earn your nursing degree
The first step to becoming an IV nurse is attending nursing school to earn either an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). An ADN generally requires two to three years of study, while a BSN requires four or more years, due to additional education in research, leadership, and other subjects.
While either degree will allow you to work as an IV nurse, nurses with BSNs typically out earn and have more options for career advancement than those with ADNs.
2. Get a nursing license
Once you earn your nursing degree, you’ll need to study for and pass the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination – Registered Nurse) exam, which is developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Passing this exam proves you have the competencies necessary to work as a nurse.
Once you pass the exam, you’ll officially be a registered nurse (RN) with a nursing license. It is this license that gives you the authority to gain employment as a nurse.
3. Gain 1600+ hours of experience
The next step toward becoming an IV nurse is gaining hands-on experience. You’ll need to put in at least 1,600 hours within two years, specifically in a field related to infusion.
During this time, you’ll develop and refine your skills at starting and maintaining infusion therapy. You can gain experience in many different fields, ranging from pediatrics to geriatric departments.
4. Pass the CRNI exam
Once you’ve attained your 1600+ hours of experience, you’re eligible to take the Certified Registered Nurse Infusion (CRNI) exam through the Infusion Nurses Society. Passing this exam is required to become a CRNI.
Altogether, becoming an IV nurse therapist requires between two to five years of study, roughly two years of experience, and passing scores on two exams. As you continue in your career, you’ll also need to keep your nursing license current and get re-certified as a CRNI every three years, either by taking an exam or completing 40 hours of continuing education credits.
How much does an IV nurse make?
The salaries that IV nurses receive range significantly, depending on what cities they work in, what work setting they’ve chosen, what level of experience they have, and more. But you can get a good sense of the overall compensation IV nurses receive by looking at nationwide statistics.
To start, the median salary for a registered nurse was $73,300 a year in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Keep in mind, however, that this figure is for nurses in general — not IV nurses, who are more specialized and thus generally able to command a higher salary. Salary.com reports the average annual salary for infusion nurses to be $90,990 a year.
Should you become an IV nurse?
If you know you’d like a career in nursing, you might consider specializing to become an IV nurse. As an IV nurse, you can choose to work in hospital settings, outpatient departments, at patients’ homes, or even independently in your own private practice.
Once you are a healthcare provider, you’ll want to make sure to retain IV nurse insurance to safeguard your career. At NOW insurance, we offer simple, fast, and affordable professional liability insurance trusted by many healthcare professionals.