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An LPN can Give an IV Push - No an LPN Cannot Give an IV Push

The great debate, so which is it? Can an LPN/LVN give an IV push medication or can’t they. Well the answer is not so black and white. As a matter of fact the answers are down right “clear as mud”.

You know it is coming…. the dreaded statement; “you will have to read your Nurse Practice Act, Scope of Practice or Administrative Code”. That dreaded boring document that let’s face it, no one really wants to read, but we all know we should. As a matter of fact I am going to say your knowledge of these documents within the state in which you practice is truly of utmost importance and your license can depend on it.

The problem we face is that states do not all handle the issue of what infusion related procedures the LPN/LVN is allowed to perform uniformly. Many states spell out very clearly, exactly what procedures the nurse may perform, others are rather vague, some give broad education requirements, some set  very specific limitations on what is considered out of an LPN/LVN’s scope of practice, then other states leave it up to the facility policy and procedure. What? Policy and Procedures? Oh yes, yet another long and exciting document that should be your friend.

It is the lack of uniformity among states and then in some states the lack of uniformity between facilities, agencies or employers that cause so much down right confusion.

As an example I will use the state of Texas.  The Board of Nursing in the state of Texas actually limits the LVN only in the insertion of PICC lines and the administration of epidural or intrathecal medications, these procedures have been determined by the board to be out of the Scope of Practice for an LVN. The board does state the LVN must have successfully completed an IV therapy validation course relative to the types of therapies the nurse will administer. All nursing actions related to peripheral and/or central lines, as well as IV administration of medications, must be completed in accordance with the orders of the prescribing practitioner, as well as written policies, procedures and job descriptions approved by the health care employer.

So what does this actually mean? It means that the Texas LVN must have education related to the types of infusion procedures and IV therapies that the employer policy and procedure says they may administer or perform within that facility, agency or institution. In essence it is up to the employer to mandate what LVN’s can do in relation to IV procedures and therapies. It is this rule that is at the root of an extreme amount of confusion. For example, one Texas LVN that works in a long term care facility may not be allowed to administer Lasix IV push, while another Texas LVN that works for a hospital is allowed to perform this task.

I am picking on Texas because it is the state in which I practice and I know the rules the best.  But I can tell you this scenario is common for many states. So now you know why I am emphatic that as nurses we must be familiar with the Board of Nursing’s rules in the state in which we practice, as well as, completely knowledgeable of the policy and procedures within the facility we are employed. Your license may depend on it.

Pedagogy has just released a new course by author Pamela Clark CRNI that addresses the education of IV Push medications. This instructional course has been designed to provide current conceptual and operational knowledge to the licensed nurse interested in the provision of intravenous medication by the IV push route. There are a number of drugs that may or must be administered by this method. For both the RN and LPN/LVN involved in administering drugs by this route, this course contains current practices for best patient outcomes.

IV Push Medications is a 1.5 contact hour course and upon the completion of this course the participant should be able to:
  1. Explain the difference between IV push medication administration and IV infusion medication administration
  2. Recognize potential negative effects of administering IV push medications incorrectly
  3. Demonstrate the proper procedures involved in the preparation and administration of IV push medications
To learn more or purchase the IV Push Medication course, Click Here

Pedagogy blog written by Capra Dalton, RN. Capra Dalton is our CEO and author of Pedagogy online continuing education courses.

Capra Dalton, Registered Nurse, has more than 26 years of experience in infusion therapy and the instruction of licensed nurses in infusion therapy continuing education. Her experience comes from multiple infusion settings: acute care, ambulatory infusion centers, home infusion, long term care continuing education provider, and long term care pharmacy quality assurance consultant.

As the CEO, Capra is responsible for all operational aspects of Pedagogy, including education course content, author recruitment, and management. She is a member of the Infusion Nurses Society (INS), the National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Services (NAPNES), and the Council of Practical Nurse Educators (COPNE), and presented at a recent Texas Health Care Association convention on “Nurses Meeting the Changing Needs of LTC Residents - IV’s and PICC Lines.” Capra received her nursing education from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.

Capra has an avid interest in holistic healing, nutrition, herbs, and alternative therapies for the treatment of disease in humans as well as animals. She and her husband, Patrick, live near Tyler, Texas, with their two teenage daughters, three dogs, and a cat on a ranch complete with horses, chickens, vineyard, orchards, and a 4,000 square foot organic garden.
Posted: 11/13/2013 11:43:56 AM
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