How to Become an Infusion Nurse
Infusion nurses are registered nurses who specialize in the administration of intravenous medication or therapies and the insertion of intravenous devices. This specialty is more popular than ever with the rise in TikTok fame of mobile IV therapy nurses who work for a company called Hydreight. Truth is, you don't have to work for Hydreight; you can work for yourself and own your own mobile hydration clinic or work for one of the many other companies providing in-home hydration and infusion services.
This guide will teach you how to become an infusion nurse, including education requirements and salary expectations. Read on to learn everything you need to know before setting out on this career path.
What Is an Infusion Nurse?
Infusion nurses are responsible for making sure their patients receive safe infusion care and administer various types of infusion services, such as:
- Intravenous antibiotics
- Blood transfusions and other blood products
IV nurses must also be proficient in placing and caring for infusion devices, such as:
- Peripheral IVs: a catheter or cannula placed in a vein, usually in the hand or forearm
- Central intravenous lines: a simple catheter that is inserted directly into a large vein (usually the jugular or subclavian)
- Midline: a vascular access device intended for placement into a peripheral vein in the upper arm for infusion and short-term intravenous therapies.
- PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter): an intravenous access device used for a prolonged period or for administering substances contraindicated for peripheral IV usage.
- Arterial lines: lines used for continuous blood pressure readings, also called intra-arterial pressure (IAP) monitoring.
Infusion nurses are an essential part of the healthcare team. They commonly work with physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and pharmacists to ensure proper vascular access placement and medication usage.
What is a Mobile IV Therapy Nurse
Mobile IV therapy companies - such as Hydreight Nurse - are health and wellness businesses that bring IV therapy directly to people's homes or businesses. A trained RN with several years of IV start experience provides the treatments.
With IV hydration packages that start around $200 and up, customers can book appointments via an app, computer, or phone call. The primary services include IV drip therapy to deliver fluids and vitamins directly into the bloodstream for faster relief of dehydration or illness.
Historically, the only way to get IV therapy was in a hospital. But mobile IV therapy brings IV drips to the home, business, or even hotel room. IV mobile drips claim to provide relief for symptoms such as cold and flu symptoms and hangover relief. Some IV mobile companies also offer onsite COVID testing as well.
What Do Infusion Nurses Do?
Infusion Nurses have a very interesting job because their responsibilities are extremely diverse and different from typical bedside nurses.
In addition to placing and caring for infusion lines, IV Nurse job responsibilities include:
- Performing chemotherapy, antibiotic, steroid, electrolyte, and vitamin infusions, as well as blood transfusions.
- Administering medications and fluid therapy, monitoring patient's IV and medications, and developing care plans
- Teaching intravenous access and PICC insertion
- Dressing changes on PICCs, midlines, and central lines
- Monitoring a patient’s response to treatment
- Assessing line sites and patency
- Managing and preventing infections
- Reviewing pertinent lab values and drug information
- Educating patients, families, and caregivers
- Performing patient assessments
- Coordinating the discontinuation of IV services with patients
What Do Mobile IV Therapy Nurses Do?
Mobile IV Therapy nurse job duties include:
- Start Peripheral IVs
- Administer IV therapy or intramuscular injections at a patient’s home, hotel, or business
- Administer COVID-19 testing
- Assess patient appropriateness for home infusion therapy
- Obtain the patient’s medical history
- Communicate with the company for scheduling - many IV therapy nurses work on-call and are paid per treatment.
- Observe the patient during treatment
- Communicate with the nursing supervisor, dispensing pharmacist, medical director, or licensed prescriber
- Have detailed knowledge of IV mobile infusion therapies
How to Become an Infusion Nurse
To become an infusion nurse, you’ll need to complete the following steps:
Step 1: Attend Nursing School
You’ll need to earn either an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited nursing program in order to take the first steps to becoming a registered nurse. ADN-prepared nurses may want to take the additional step of completing their BSN degree to increase their career opportunities and improve their chances of being hired for desired nursing positions.
Step 2: Pass the NCLEX-RN
Earn Licensure as a Registered Nurse by passing the NCLEX examination.
Step 3: Gain Experience at the Bedside
Prior to becoming an infusion nurse, individuals should have a few years of bedside experience. Obtaining bedside clinical experience is essential as the skills needed to start IVs and administer different types of infusion therapy are learned in this setting.
Infusion nurses can have experience in a variety of fields, including pediatrics, oncology, emergency room, ICU, and surgical units.
Strong IV skills are essential to the success of becoming an infusion nurse. Any bedside position that allows for mastery of these skills will help a nurse transition into the role of an infusion nurse.
Step 4: Earn Your Certification
The Infusion Nurses Society offers the Certified Registered Nurse Infusion (CRNI) certification.
CRNI Certification Requirements
A current, active, unrestricted registered nurse (RN) license in the United States.
A minimum of 1,600 hours of experience in infusion therapy as an RN within the past two years. 1,600 hours of direct bedside care are not required. Nursing experience may be in the areas of nursing education, administration, research, or clinical practice within the infusion specialty.
Infusion Nurse Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median salary for a registered nurse in 2022 is $81,220 or $39.05/hr, but conditions in your area may vary.
Unfortunately, the BLS does not identify the salary of nursing specialties such as holistic nursing. According to Salary.com, the median annual salary for an infusion nurse is $89,270.
ZipRecruiter reports that the median annual salary for infusion nurses is $85,012 or $41/hr.
Highest Paying States for Infusion Nurses
ZipRecruiter also reports that the highest-paying states for infusion nurses include:
- New York - $96,980 or $46.63/hr
- California - $95,692 or $46.01/hr
- Vermont - $87,456 or $42.05/hr
- Maine - $86,886 or $41.77/hr
- Massachussettes - $86,197 or $41.44/hr
Highest Paying Cities for Infusion Nurses
ZipRecruiter also reports that the top five highest-paying cities include:
- Santa Clara, CA - $106,411 or $51.16
- San Francisco, CA - $104,853 or $50.41
- Marysville, WA - $101,851 or $48.97
- San Jose, CA - $101,538 or $48.82
- Fremont, CA - $101,361 or $48.73
An infusion nurse's salary depends on several other factors other than location. Your income may also vary based on experience, industry, and whether you work full or part-time. Most full-time infusion nurses also receive additional benefits, including retirement, paid vacation, medical and dental insurance, and overtime pay.
Infusion Nurse Salary by Years of Experience
Payscale reports that the median annual salary for infusion nurses is $36.36/hr. However, they also report that income for this specialty is highly dependent on years of service:
- Entry-level with less than one year of experience: $30.82
- 1-4 years of experience earns an average of $33.16
- 5-9 years of experience earns an average of $35.35
- 10-19 years of experience earns an average of $36.74
- Late career (20 years and higher), employees earn an average of $39.11
Where Can Infusion Nurses Work?
Infusion nurses commonly work in hospitals and outpatient facilities.
However, infusion nurses also work in the following areas:
- Medical day spa
- Skilled nursing home
- Long-term care facilities
- Outpatient pharmacies
- Private practice
- Governmental clinics and hospitals
- International medical relief organizations
- Home Health
- Infusion centers
- Outpatient surgical centers
- Oncology facilities
- Patient’s home
- Ambulatory infusion centers
In the hospital setting, infusion nurses will generally work on a Vascular Access Team or as resource nurses on a unit.
Companies Who Hire Mobile IV Therapy Nurses
Mobile IV therapy companies are popping up in cities throughout the country. Many nurses enjoy working for these companies because of their scheduling flexibility. In fact, many nurses keep their full-time nursing careers and work as mobile IV therapy nurses as a side job.
Here are a few of the companies that hire mobile IV therapy nurses:
- The I.V. Doc
- Liquid Mobile
- Advanced Mobile IV
- Mobile IV Medics
- Midwest Mobile IV
- Drip Hydration
- NuHydration IV Therapy & Wellness
- Reset IV
What is the Job Outlook for Infusion Nurses?
According to the BLS, in 2022, there were 3,172,500 Registered Nurses in the United States. By 2032, there will be a need for an additional 177,400 nurses, which is an expected growth of 6%. With the aging population, this number may be even higher.
More and more infusion therapy is occurring outside of the hospital setting due to the risk of infection and hospital-related costs.
According to the National Home Infusion Association, home infusion is a safe and effective alternative to inpatient infusion treatment for some patients. It also allows patients to resume normal activities quicker, and home infusion is more convenient.
What are the Continuing Education Requirements for an Infusion Nurse?
Generally, for an individual to renew their RN license, they will need to fill out an application, complete a specific number of CEU hours, and pay a nominal fee. Each state has specific requirements, and it is important to check with the board of nursing prior to applying for license renewal.
If the RN license is part of a compact nursing license, the CEU requirement will be for the state of permanent residence. Furthermore, some states require CEUs related to child abuse, narcotics, and pain management.
The Certified Registered Infusion Nurse (CRNI) does require continuing education in order to maintain certification. Forty hours of relevant CEUs every three years are required to maintain certification.
Check out this article for a detailed look at nursing continuing education requirements.
Resources for Infusion Nurses
- National Home Infusion Association
- Infusion Nurses Society
- American Nurses Association
- “The Hangover Cure” - IV Therapy Nursing
- This Nurse Owns Her Own Mobile IV Therapy Clinic, Here's How
Infusion Nurse FAQs
Is infusion nursing stressful?
- Infusion nursing may be less stressful than other bedside nursing roles in areas such as acute care, intensive care, and the emergency room. Many inpatient infusion nursing positions offer a traditional daytime work schedule and don’t require working on weekends and holidays. Mobile IV nursing also offers flexible scheduling or on-call work. Infusion nurses typically transition into the role after having worked in high-stress environments in the hospital setting.
What are the skills required to work as an infusion nurse?
- Infusion nurses must be highly skilled in starting peripheral IVs, arterial lines, and other intravenous access devices. Infusion nurses must also be proficient in managing infusion equipment, assessing line patency, assessing patients' responses to medications, and observing for potential drug complications. Extensive pharmacological knowledge, meticulous documentation skills, and maintenance of infection control protocols are also essential.
Is IV therapy the same as infusion therapy?
- Infusion therapy is also known as IV therapy, and both involve administering medications intravenously.