“Significant percentage of hospital-acquired infection is due to unsafe infusion practices”

A nurse who can insert the needle to administer drugs or blood products without causing the slightest injury to a patient is the toast of a hospital. But such specialisation does not come without efforts and dedicated training.

For, though nurses are trained during their student days to provide intravenous therapy through IV canula, they also need regular updates on possible complications and methods to administer a certain drug, say senior nurses.

In December 2010, nurses in India began considering ways to raise awareness among their ilk of complications that infusion therapy could cause.

“Infusion therapy is used for a range of conditions. IV line is used to administer not just drugs but blood, blood products and fluids in dehydrated newborns and the elderly. Nurses must be knowledgeable about the line, site and device that can be used and this comes only with experience,” says Col. Binu Sharma, secretary, Infusion Nurses Society (INS) – India.

According to her, a significant percentage of hospital-acquired infection is due to unsafe infusion practices. Complications due to faulty infusion are reported in India in very few hospitals whereas in developed countries hospitals have in place an auditing system.

Trained nurses will also be confident of reporting adverse outcomes. The nursing community can then create benchmarks and institute the culture of self-improvement that will minimise complications, Col. Sharma says.

Continuing education

The INS held its first continuing nursing education programmes for nurses in Madurai recently.

The nurses were trained in the right method of infusion, also earning them 10 credit hours.

Registrar of the Tamil Nadu Nursing and Midwives Council S. Ani Grace Kalaimathi says, “We have given them 10 credit hours as they underwent intense hands-on training. Such programmes are regularly held every two years in the U.S. and we are making it mandatory here too.”

Nurses have to earn 150 credit points in five years to be eligible for renewal of licences. Nurses are expected to undergo 30 hours of continuing nursing education training every year.