Making Sense of IV Certification for LPNs and LVNs

You’ve worked long and hard to become an LPN/LVN. Now you want to expand your education and role and begin performing IV therapy with patients. This is why many LPNs/LVNs ask the question, “How do I obtain my IV certification?” This can be a confusing topic, and here we will try to make sense of this process.

When we talk about IV “certification,” it is really a misnomer. In MOST states there is no actual “certification” given to LPNs/LVNs to be able to perform IV therapy. The nurse must be aware of the rules provided by the Board of Nursing for the state in which they practice, as each state’s rules vary slightly.

There are three separate components involved to be able to legally perform IV therapy on patients as an LPN/LVN:

          1. Education
          2. Competency
          3. Scope of practice

Let’s start with education. In most states, the college curriculum to obtain your nursing LPN/LVN license contains some infusion therapy principles. This varies greatly from college to college, as well as state to state. Most state boards mandate that to be able to perform IV therapy on patients, the LPN/LVN complete additional education beyond the education needed to become an LPN/LVN. This education provides the knowledge and competency necessary to qualify the LPN/LVN to administer IV therapy. The Board of Nursing in some states requires the IV course curriculum to be approved by the board and have very specific content requirements. This is why it is important to know exactly what YOUR state requires before practicing IV therapy as an LPN/LVN. For this reason, we have developed our State by State IV Certification Requirements guide.

The second part of becoming qualified to perform IV therapy as an LPN/LVN is competency demonstrations, or skills competency check-off or validation. The skills check-off is to be performed under the supervision of a preceptor, typically an RN or IV “certified” LPN/LVN, with appropriate infusion therapy knowledge and skills. This is where you will put into practice all the great information you learned in your additional IV education class; the preceptor then ensures that you are knowledgeable and safe to perform IV therapy on patients!

The third aspect of being able to practice IV therapy on patients is making sure that tasks you are performing as an LPN/LVN are within your legal scope of practice as defined by your State Board of Nursing. This is where it gets tricky, but we have made this easy for you with our State Boards of Nursing Guide! Just a click on your state to be taken to your Board of Nursing’s information page. Here we summarize for everyone the requirements for each state for an LPN/LVN to be eligible to perform IV therapy and the tasks that are legal for your scope of practice in your state. Some states very specifically define what an LPN/LVN can do regarding IV therapy, and some states say that each facility may make its own decision as to which tasks an LPN/LVN may perform regarding IV therapy. These requirements are defined within each facility’s policy and procedures.

Our infusion courses have been developed to fulfill education needs for LPNs and LVNs, but we have many RNs utilize these online continuing education courses, as they are an excellent review and provide the latest infusion standards of practice as issued by the Infusion Nurses Society.