By Patricia Deal, CRDAMC Public Affairs
FORT HOOD (Now designated Fort Cavazos), Texas– A new training program at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center is proof positive that hospital staff persistently push themselves to perform at the highest level of their training and competency.
Thirty licensed vocational nurses are currently pursuing skill certification training that will allow them to administer intravenous therapy push medications to patients. LVNs are trained in school to give medications via multiple routes, but medications pushed through the IV has traditionally been a task reserved for registered nurses.
IVP is currently not being taught in civilian LVN programs, nor in the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence’s standard military LVN (68C) training. However, the Texas Board of Nursing and several other state boards do permit LVNs to administer IV push medications once they have received training and demonstrated competency.
Maj. Brett Weir, clinical nurse specialist for CRDAMC’s Intensive Care and Medical-Surgical-Pediatric units, recognized the value this additional skill would provide on his units where IV push medications are administered frequently. Seeing that it would improve efficiency not just in his units but in all of the hospital’s inpatient units, Weir spearheaded the development of the training at CRDAMC with input from Maj. Bethany Gardner, Maternal Child Health CNS and Lt. Col. Megan Childs, Operating Room CNS.
“It’s really win-win for staff and patients. With this added skill in the LVN task list, patients will not be required to wait until an RN is available to administer their pain medication. By being able to give the IVP medications directly, the LVNs are able to streamline their workflow process, eliminate frustration and feel empowered to give their patients the highest, quality care possible,” Gardner said.
The curriculum includes online training modules, classroom instruction, simulated patient encounters, a medication exam, and observations of IVP administrations in clinical practice. The LVNs also must complete additional study-on-your-own training modules focused on medications (benefits and risks), administration, and evaluation of response. The final component, observation of correct administration technique, is also required on the LVN’s home unit by staff RNs before competency is finalized.
“I think the program is fantastic. Students report feeling confident and prepared after their training to work at the peak of their competency. Unit leadership and fellow staff RNs appreciate how this program safely enhances efficiency on their units,” Gardner said. “Patient satisfaction is high since they don’t have to wait to get the medications. They know they will get the care they need, when they want it.”