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Explainer: What Is Infusion Nursing?

Infusion nurses administer intravenous and subcutaneous medicines. They also help train patients and caregivers to self-infuse at home.

Infusion nurse cares for a patient who has an IV

Though we often think of medicine as a pill or liquid you swallow, many patients receive treatment through infusion therapy. Infusion therapy means giving medication by intravenous infusions (IVs), which introduce medicines into the bloodstream through the veins, and by subcutaneous infusion, beneath the skin.

Infusion nursing focuses on administering fluids, medications and blood products, according to the Journal of Advanced Practice Nursing. Infusions treat various conditions, including rare diseases like primary immunodeficiencies and bleeding disorders.

What Do Infusion Nurses Do?

Infusion nurses, who are experts in this mode of treatment, have a wide range of responsibilities and play important roles in providing this care in infusion centers, hospitals and in patients’ homes. Infusion nurses set up and monitor patient infusions, which includes managing the infusion equipment, tubing and pumps to ensure they function correctly. Infusion nurses follow protocols to keep patients safe and guard against infections. Infused medicines, which include biologics, need to be stored properly and kept at the right temperature.

Most infusion nurses are either licensed professional nurses or registered nurses and receive additional certification from accrediting organizations. They observe patients, collect information and collaborate with the rest of the health care team. As one infusion nurse explained, being well trained and following evidence-based best practices is essential.

Nursing is both an art and science, and nurses look to evidence to support what they do. While the art of nursing allows for some variation, in infusion therapy adhering to standards and integrating the best evidence into practice will achieve the desired outcomes,” Pamela Jacobs said in an interview about a day in the life of an infusion nurse.

Here’s what nurses who work for CSL said they valued most about the nursing profession.

Infusion Nurses Help With Home and Self-Infusions

Infusion nurses provide in-home care and help train patients and caregivers to self-infuse at home, which enables them to take an active role in management of their condition. It also can be more efficient and convenient, especially if the patient doesn’t live close to a hospital or infusion center.

The training starts early for patients who have conditions such as hemophilia. They often start learning how to self-infuse at summer camps for children who have bleeding disorders.

Watch a video that helps parents know when a child is ready to begin learning about self-infusion.