Intravenous (IV) therapy team

Robin Ward

The Intravenous (IV) therapy team at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) ensures a high standard of IV therapy throughout the wards by teaching, training, supervising and supporting members of staff in developing their IV therapy skills.

They provide practical assistance by helping with problems that may be encountered when using central venous access devises, for example, blocked lines or line repair. Members of the team also perform cannulation and venepuncture, training other nurses who are interested in this aspect of patient care.

The team produce clinical practice guidelines for IV therapies and central venous access devise care and undertake clinical audits to ensure patients' receive optimum care.

Katherine Berry, Senior Staff Nurse (SSN), Band 6

Katherine trained as a nurse at GOSH and has worked at the hospital for 12 years. After training, she took up a nursing role on Robin Ward before joining the IV team in 2004. Katherine has a three-year-old daughter who she enjoys spending time with outside of work.

What does the IV therapy team do?

We meet newly diagnosed families and give them information about any of the lines their child might have. We show them the line prior to insertion to give them an understanding of what it looks like and how it works. We are also responsible for training nurses to become IV competent and supporting community and local nursing teams.

Do you think it suits certain types of personality?

IV nurses need to be patient and proactive. There is no set schedule when you come in to work - a large part of our role is responding to the needs of each of the six wards we cover on an ad hoc basis.

You need to be able to manage your own time effectively and not take anything for granted. We give the line training to nursing staff in the Infection, Cancer and Immunity (ICI) Unit and should never assume knowledge on the part of someone else.

How did you come to work in this team?

I always had an interest in IV nursing, although I can't really put my finger on why. I still enjoy my work and the patient contact every day.

What type of patients do you see?

We see patients from across the ICI Unit, so that covers areas including haematology/oncology, blood and marrow transplant (BMT), immunology and infectious diseases.

Our role as IV nurses can tend to be more parent- than patient-focused. Often our play specialists will spend more time with patients explaining what having a line will mean for them and how it will work. We spend more time talking everything through with parents.

What gives you the most satisfaction?

I still take a lot of pleasure in seeing a patient go from being newly diagnosed to an outpatient, visiting day care. Seeing that progression is something I enjoy immensely.

Would you encourage others to consider a career in IV therapy?

Definitely - we have a great team here.