Ask the Care Expert about ... LPNs and IVs

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Sherrie Dornberger, RN, CDONA, FACDONA, Executive Director, NADONA
Sherrie Dornberger, RN, CDONA, FACDONA, Executive Director, NADONA

Can an LPN be asked to start IVs or use a PICC line?

This question is dependent on your specific Nurse Practice Act.This website has all the nurse practice sites: https://www.ncsbn.org/npa.htm.

Pick your state and see the rules and practice acts available. Also, just because your state says that an LPN may do or start an IV, don't assume they have been trained. Your facility should test competencies for all nurses for any of the procedures they are expected to perform while fulfilling their job duties.

Perhaps your facility has a staff educator who is certified to teach IV management or starting IVs or caring for PICCs or ports.

Any nurse expected to care for them should be tested on their competencies, and taught how to do it, if they need a refresher. Also, just testing the competencies once and done is NOT the way to do it.

Staff should have their competencies tested per the facility's policies and procedures. There are many companies who will come to your facility to train, test the nurses and check these competencies.

Some companies will come in to start the IVs if the nurses in your facility cannot or your state only allows RNs, and perhaps there are no RNs staffed around the clock. If you have your staff IV-certified, consider having them earn a certification from the Vascular Access Certification Corporation (www.vacert.org). Its mission is to certify vascular access healthcare professionals and related disciplines working in the field of vascular access through professional board certification.

The exams are given twice per year. We all strive for an increase in quality. Certification will definitely increase the quality of the nurses and the care offered at your facility.

Please send your resident care-related questions to Sherrie Dornberger at ltcnews@mcknights.com.