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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Sunnybrook

5885 Sunnybrook Drive
Sioux City, IA 51106

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Thank You, Infusion Nurses: Chemo, Pain Management and More

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It has happened every year since 1981, but not many people know about IV Nurses Day. On the 25th of January, infusion nurses are recognized for all of the hard work they do by the Infusion Nurses Society. Infusion nurses are not the most public of figures, but their jobs are imperative.

What is an infusion therapy nurse?

Infusion nurses specialize in giving IV medications including antibiotics, pain management, chemotherapy, nutritional supplements, hydration and other special therapies. They also monitor patients, staying aware of potential drug complications. These nurses can work in hospitals, long-term care centers, clinics and within homes.

UnityPoint at Home infusion nurses serve patients throughout the UnityPoint Health System, and also case manage other home care patients in five other states. All of the UnityPoint at Home infusion nurses are chemotherapy and PICC line certified. Their primary duties include teaching patients how to give themselves medication, performing PICC line care and drawing lab work. These nurses are capable of doing almost any infusion therapy that is currently available.

What is infusion therapy?

Infusion therapy is used when a condition is too severe for oral medications, or when oral medications would not be sufficient enough. Home infusion therapies are most commonly IV antibiotics. Thanks to medical advances combined with the cost-effectiveness of home care, infusion nurses can now successfully and safely administer medication to patients in their homes.

Intravenous medication administration is performed in two different ways. It can be done through a regular IV that is inserted into a vein (the definition of intravenous) or through a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter). This catheter, which is inserted into one of the large veins in the arm, is threaded far enough into the vein that the tip of the tube is located near the heart.

Types of Infusion Therapies

Chemotherapy IV

Administering chemotherapy medicine can be a dangerous task. Chemo needs to be administered while wearing gloves, and any spills become a hazard to the health of others. Infusion nurses are well equipped to handle anything that happens.

Antibiotic IV

People who have developed severe infections can benefit from antibiotics that are given in an IV. These conditions include bacterial meningitis, blood poisoning, endocarditis (infection of the outside layer of the heart), MRSA infection and osteomyelitis (bone infection).

Pain Management IV

Those who require end-of-life pain management, have a chronic, painful condition or are recovering from a major surgery may need extra pain management medication. These drugs can be delivered through an IV.

Parenteral Nutrition IV

The medications given to those who require parenteral nutrition include sugars, carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, electrolytes and trace elements. Patients may need all or some of these nutritious items. These medications are given to people who cannot, or should not, eat food to get their nutrition. Usually, the drug is given every day for 10 to 12 hours. 

Hydration IV

Some illnesses and medications may cause severe dehydration. A rehydration IV might be necessary to keep fluids in the body. Some medications work better if they are given with fluids.

Infusion nurses are an important part of the UnityPoint at Home family. Find out if you or a loved one could benefit from in home infusion therapy and learn more about our skilled nurses.