At the end of this chapter, the practitioner will be able to:
Understand the training and development required to administer intravenous therapy safely and effectively
Understand the professional requirements associated with the administration of intravenous therapy.
Most healthcare providers have a specific system for training their staff in intravenous therapy (Whyte 2001). This may be in the form of attendance at a study day an e-learning package or a competency-based workbook. The healthcare practitioner will need to demonstrate an appropriate level of knowledge and have an assessed level of competence prior to undertaking this role. Appendices 1, 2 and 3 at the back of this book give guidance on recording your competence schedule in administering IV medication. In addition to any local training that is offered, healthcare practitioners also need to be aware of and maintain specific legal and professional requirements to undertake the role.
Most healthcare providers require healthcare practitioners to attend a formal study day, comprising (O’Hanlon et al. 2008):
Anatomy and physiology
Consideration of the legal and professional issues
Pharmacology and calculating medication doses
Care and maintenance of central venous catheters (CVCs) and peripheral venous access devices (PVADs)
Preparation and administration of intravenous (IV) medication
Practical demonstration of the procedure
The key risks and complications associated with IV therapy.
Some healthcare providers require attendance on an annual IV therapy update, where practitioners are formally assessed on their knowledge, receive updates on good practice and an open forum is provided to address any queries.
In terms of professional requirements, practitioners will always need to familiarise themselves with any local guidelines and procedures that are in place, and ensure that they are followed at all times. As a practitioner, you must always remember the principles of safe administration of medicines. As stated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (2008), the administration of IV medication ‘is not solely a mechanical task to be performed on strict compliance with the written prescription … it requires thought and exercise of professional judgement …’ (NMC 2008 p. 4).
Healthcare professionals must ensure that they exercise accountability at all stages of medication administration. Accountability for registered healthcare practitioners is integral to the concept of professionalism. Professional regulation through a statutory body (such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council) is required in order to practice professionally. A registered practitioner has professional and legal accountability in four spheres:
Their professional regulatory body (with the possible penalty of being removed from the register if found to be in breach of their professional code of conduct)
The patient through civil law (with the possible penalty of being sued through the legal system)
The employer through the contract of employment
The public through criminal law (with the possible penalty being criminal prosecution).
Any individual who has been harmed as a result of poor or inadequate care whilst being treated by a registered professional can claim compensation under civil law. The claim may be considered as a breach of the individual practitioner’s duty of care.
Look up the terms: accountability, duty of care and civil law. What do they mean? How do you think your understanding of these concepts affects your daily practice?