Chapter 8. Intravenous Therapy

8.1 Introduction

The use of intravenous (IV) therapy is common in the healthcare setting. IV therapy is a treatment that infuses fluids, nutrients, blood, blood products, or medication directly into a vein. It is a fast, efficient way to infuse fluids and medications into the body.

This chapter will review how to care for a patient with peripheral intravenous therapy and central venous catheters. It will cover how to prepare IV infusions, and how to assess, maintain, and prevent complications related to intravenous therapy.

Learning Outcomes

  • Define three patient conditions that may require IV therapy.
  • Identify five systemic complications associated with IV therapy , signs and symptoms, and preventative measures.
  • Identify five local complications associated with IV therapy, signs and symptoms, and preventative measures.
  • Identify five potential complications associated with central venous catheters (CVCs) specifically, signs and symptoms and appropriate interventions.
  • Differentiate common types of venous access devices: peripheral venous access device–short cannula; PVAD midline; CVADs–including peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC); percutaneuous non hemodialysis line; tunneled catheters; and implanted venous access device (IVAD).
  • Identify rationale for selection of specific venous access devices and the benefits and complications associated with them.
  • Differentiate isotonic, hypotonic, and hypertonic IV solutions.
  • Describe the components of an IV administration set.
  • Demonstrate flushing and locking protocols for PVAD-short, PICC, percutaneous non hemodialysis central line, and midline catheter.
  • Demonstrate:
    • Initiating a continuous IV infusion from a locked IV, and discontinuing a continuous infusion
    • Removing a PVAD-short cannula
    • Priming of IV tubing
    • Changing IV bags
    • Changing IV tubing
    • Calculating IV rates
  • Describe the primary difference when removing a PVAD-short versus removing a percutaneous non hemodialysis CVC.
  • Describe principles of IV site dressings.
  • Identify three indications for blood and blood product transfusions.
  • Identify five key steps in the pre-transfusion preparation intended to increase safety associated with transfusions.
  • Identify signs and symptoms of transfusion reaction and initial nursing management.
  • Identify four indications for parenteral nutrition (PN) therapy.
  • Describe three PN specific complications and one preventative measure for each.
  • Describe four key elements in the plan of care (including rationale) for someone with PN therapy.


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Clinical Procedures for Safer Patient Care Copyright © 2018 by Thompson Rivers University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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