2.1 Introduction

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the advantages, disadvantages, and precautions associated with IV medication administration
  • Identify information that must be checked before an IV push medication is administered
  • Define “speed shock” and measures to prevent it from occurring
  • Compare the procedure for administering an IV push medication through a primary IV line versus through a saline lock

In acute care settings, nurses frequently administer medications via the intravenous (IV) route. Medications may be administered through a primary line that is already infusing fluids or through a saline lock inserted into a patient’s vein with direct access to the bloodstream. Medications given via the IV route enter the bloodstream immediately, so extreme caution must be observed while performing this procedure. Administering medications via the IV route requires diligent attention to the rights of medication administration and IV safety. When utilized appropriately, medications administered via IV push can provide rapid symptom resolution and therapeutic effect. There are many advantages and potential disadvantages to using the IV route for administering medications; therefore, a nurse must have a strong understanding of its benefits, risks, and safety implications.


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