Making Sense of IV “Certification” for LPNs/LVNs

You’ve worked long and hard to become an LPN/LVN.  Now you want to expand your education and role and begin performing IV therapy with patients.  This is why many LPNs/LVNs ask the question, “How do I obtain my IV certification?” 

This can be a confusing topic, and here we will try to make sense of this process.

When we talk about IV “certification,” that is really a misnomer.  In MOST states there is no actual “certification” given to LPNs/LVNs to be able to perform IV therapy. The nurse must be aware of the rules provided by the board for the state in which he/she practices, as every state’s rules vary slightly.

There are, though, three separate components involved to be able to legally perform IV therapy on patients as an LPN/LVN. 

Let’s start with education; always a good place to start. In most states the college curriculum to obtain your nursing LPN/LVN license contains some infusion therapy principles.   This varies greatly from college to college, as well as state to state. Most state boards mandate, to be able to perform IV therapy on patients, that the LPN/LVN complete additional education, beyond the education needed to become an LPN/LVN.  This education provides the knowledge and competency necessary to qualify the LPN/LVN to administer IV therapy.  The Board of Nursing in some states requires the I.V. course curriculum to be approved by them and have very specific content requirements.  That is why it is important to know exactly what YOUR state requires before practicing IV therapy as an LPN/LVN.

The second part of becoming qualified to perform IV therapy as an LPN/LVN is competency demonstrations.  This is what you might think of as a skills competency check-off or validation.  The skills check-off is to be performed under the supervision of a preceptor with appropriate infusion therapy knowledge and skills.  This is where you get to put into practice all the great information you learned in your additional IV education class, and the preceptor ensures that you are knowledgeable and safe to perform IV therapy on patients!

The third aspect of being able to practice IV therapy on patients is making sure that tasks performed by you as an LPN/LVN are within your legal scope of practice as defined by your State Board of Nursing.  This is where it gets tricky!  That’s why Pedagogy has provided links to each and every state’s Board of Nursing website.  Here we summarize for you the requirements for your state to be eligible to perform IV therapy and the tasks that are legal for you to perform in your state.  Some states say very specifically what an LPN/LVN is able to do regarding IV therapy, and some states say that each facility may make its own decision as to which tasks an LPN/LVN may perform regarding IV therapy. These are defined within the facility policy and procedures.   We have made this easy for you.  With just a click on your state, we take you to your state-specific information, so that you can make sense about how to begin performing IV therapy on your patients! Find your state and specific information under "Resources" and "State Boards of Nursing".
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