Student asking: "What's your background and why IV nursing?"

  1. Hello, all. I'm a male student nurse, 33 years old (2nd profession, etc.) and about to graduate in May, 07. Throughout school, most of my clinical experiences have been med-surg, which is what my school recommends for new graduates' first years as RNs. However, I've hardly ever felt like med-surg is a good fit for me. Perhaps it's just my ignorance and pre-graduation jitters, but I just can't see myself enjoying work as a med-surg nurse.

    That being said, I'm investigating other routes I could take as a new RN - and IV nursing has caught my eye. The few I've talked to at hospitals say they enjoy their independence and traveling all over the hospital. They've enjoyed honing a finite skill that is also a necessary service. But I'm curious about what others of you might have to say.

    What do you do as an IV nurse? Is IV nursing (whatever your particular kind) a realistic pursuit for a new grad? What do you like about about your work? In advance, thank you for sharing your opinions.

    - S
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   sbivrn
    Just saw your question. You can certainly make a career out of vascular access nursing. It is much more than running here and there starting IVs. I am not aware of any specialty IV teams that will hire a new grad, however. Most will want a few years of bedside nursing under your belt first. You cannot skip this step. You need to hone your IV starting skills and learn more about vascular access in general before you can be effective in this area. But should you decide to go that route there is a certification- CRNI- that will be helpful for you to get. I love this area of nursing and cannot see myself doing anything else right now. But be forwarned it is a fast paced field and patients as well as the nursing staff will come to depend on you as a resource.
  4. by   Chaetognath
    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Since first posting, I've spent some time with a PICC team, too. They, too, seemed highly satisfied with their work. What I'm seeing, though, is exactly what you pointed out in your post: I'll need a "few years of bedside nursing" first.

    I'm working on figuring out what's bothering me about my med-surg experiences, and I think it boils down to frustrating staffing ratios for both nurses and (especially) the PCTs that support them. I'm not afraid of experiencing the anxiety of being a novice and working extremely hard to become competent, but I am afraid of being asked to do more than is safely possible by one new nurse - or, as I'm seeing, with a veteran RN.

    Within the last week, I started considering a place that has excellent staffing ratios (just for starters), and bedside nursing looks a lot better from there.
  5. by   bettycat
    Hi,

    I have been a nurse for 30 years and an IV nurse for 20. I had 10 years of med-surg before doing IV Therapy. I love IV nursing because of the autonomy. The hospital I work at right now I do PICC line insertions using the modified Seldinger technique, when I am not inserting PICCs I am starting IVs on the patients that the nurses and the house doctors could not get.

    Betty
  6. by   sbivrn
    The first couple of years post nursing school can be overwhelming. They just cannot teach you everything you need to know. so you will get quite a lot of on the job training. As bad as it seems on new grads, it's much better these days. I started out 20 years ago during a time when nurses ate their young! There was a terrible shortage of nurses and basically if you had a pulse and a license you carried a full load and then some. There was no such thing a new grad orientation or preceptors. No one had the time. I am proud of where we have come in the last several years. It is still hard, but it is better. If you can mangae to land in critical care it would be a great asset for your career in IV therapy. The patient to nurse ratios are much more reasonable and they are accepting more and more new grads into the ICUs without making them wait on floor nursing experience. And truth be told they love male nurses for the ICU. Don't be intimidated by the atmosphere. You are never alone. You will become very familiar with multiple infusion medications and learn how to properly care for central lines. You'll learn what you can run safely through which kind of line. Just keep in mind most things run just fine through a 22 gauge needle. Even blood (you just need to run it a bit slower). With IVs, bigger is not better in every case. INS standards say use the smallest needle in the largest vein possible for the prescribed treatment. ER and ICU nurses in general still love those large bore IVs. Sometimes they are appropriate, but not in every case. Give yourself a year or two in the ICU and you'll be ready for the IV team and PICC line placement. Good Luck!
  7. by   Chaetognath
    Thanks again, sbivrn. It's reassuring to receive advice from veteran RNs like you.
  8. by   Chaetognath
    And thank you, too bettycat.
  9. by   nurse_weaver
    Hello, I have been a nurse for 33 years.Ihave done pedi,nursing homes,maternity & critical care.I started 4 yrs ago getting into IV therapy/ PICC lines.I enjoy it.I'm not sure how easy it would be for you without a base of general knowledge to back you up. I don't know anyone who has come right out of nursing school & gone into IV therapy,but you never know.Good Luck Lorraine
  10. by   mianders
    I spent 12 years in the ER before going to IV Therapy about a year ago and I love it. U do need to get some experience before going into it though. Have u checked on any internships for ER or ICU? I live in an area with a large # of hospitals and most of them have internships for just about any are of nursing u want to go into. I have found that a lot of male nurses are happier in specialty areas such as ER or ICU. Good Luck!
  11. by   Chaetognath
    mianders,

    I have now graduated (2 months ago) and now work in Atlanta at the Shepherd Center hospital (shepherd.org). It's relatively small hospital, so there's no IV team - just nurses with more or less IV experience. So I'll get plenty of practice, probably.

    I realize now that my desire to pursue a specialty has had more to do with trying to avoid the stress of being overwhelmed with the thousands of unfamiliar tasks and responsibilities faced by any new grad.

    Really, though, there's no healthy way around that - I just need to work through my first six months, then my second six months, then my second year, etc. Then later, after a healthy growth of varied experience (as everyone has reminded me), I will be more justified in choosing a speciality.
  12. by   Runrgrl
    Quote from nurse_weaver
    I don't know anyone who has come right out of nursing school & gone into IV therapy,but you never know.
    Actually, I did After graduating nursing school I went directly to the ICU. Ended up being diagnosed with lymphoma 1 month after that so only got through 2 weeks on the floor and then had to do almost a year of chemo. Decided when I came back to do something less physical than ICU and went directly to an infusion center. I absolutely ADORE it.

    Good luck to the original poster! To each their own. I was always taught to go through med-surg and get your experience but I completely disagree. 80% of my classmates (BSN) went on to specialities.
  13. by   iluvivt
    you really need several years doing some kind of hospital nursing all of that experience provides a wonderful foundation for any speciality.whatever nursing you choose....my advice make a lifetime commitment to learning
  14. by   sirI
    Quote from Chaetognath
    I realize now that my desire to pursue a specialty has had more to do with trying to avoid the stress of being overwhelmed with the thousands of unfamiliar tasks and responsibilities faced by any new grad.

    Really, though, there's no healthy way around that - I just need to work through my first six months, then my second six months, then my second year, etc. Then later, after a healthy growth of varied experience (as everyone has reminded me), I will be more justified in choosing a speciality.
    You are to be commended on your ability to self-reflect and understand your original rationale for seeking the specialty. Kudos to you. It takes some individuals years to be able to do that.

    You are going to go far!!! Good luck in whatever you choose.

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