Meet Infusion Nurse Danielle Jenkins

Meet Infusion Nurse Danielle Jenkins

IV Nurse Day is honored every year on January 25, and the day helps spread awareness of the work infusion nurses do. Minority Nurse recently caught up with Danielle Jenkins, MBA, BSN, RN, CRNI, and president elect of the Infusion Nurses Society. Jenkins offered her perspective on a career as an infusion nurse and what keeps her so dedicated to this specialty. infusion nurse Danielle Jenkins standing outside in a blue blazer and white shirt

How did you decide to make a career as an IV/Infusion nurse?
I chose a career as an IV/Infusion nurse after starting as a nurse tech on an oncology ward. Exposure to the infusion suite sparked my interest due to the autonomy it offered. The one-on-one interaction with patients and the opportunity to care for them throughout the entire process further solidified my passion for infusion nursing.

What makes your days interesting?
The excitement of meeting and serving new patients keeps my days interesting. Teaching patients how to do their infusions is particularly rewarding. One memorable moment was training a patient in her 70s in a home infusion setting. After the training, she proudly exclaimed, “Nurse Danielle, I got this,” and went on to train her daughter, who was her primary caregiver and supported her during her treatment. Empowering my patient in that moment was incredibly fulfilling and added a sense of empowerment to my own experience.

How do you keep up with the latest happenings in the field and/or professional development?
I stay updated in my field and focus on professional development by relying on the Infusion Nurse Society (INS). Their standards have been instrumental in shaping my policies and procedures, ensuring best practices in infusion nursing. This commitment to staying informed has not only led to successful patient outcomes but also motivated me to contribute by applying for a role on the INS board, emphasizing the importance of knowing and implementing best practices for excellent patient care.

What has surprised you about being an infusion nurse?
One surprising aspect of being an infusion nurse is the lack of awareness among many nurses about the field, despite their involvement in infusing medications. It’s surprising to see the underrecognition of the opportunities this field offers. Personally, I’ve been pleased by the flexibility in working hours, allowing for a better balance between professional and family life. I promote infusion nursing at every opportunity I have to speak with nurses looking for flexible hours, more personable patient care experience, better wages, and better opportunity to get into management.

What gives you the most career satisfaction and why?
The most satisfying aspect of my career is utilizing all my nursing skills in infusion nursing. I often say that in an outpatient setting an infusion nurse operates in five areas of nursing serving as an admissions nurse , case manager, infusion nurse, charge nurse, and discharge nurse. It’s a field that allows me the autonomy I love. Witnessing patients’ journeys from diagnosis to healing at discharge is incredibly fulfilling. Additionally, obtaining my certified registered nurse infusion (CRNI) credentials has been a crucial step in showcasing my commitment to continuous professional development in this field.

What would you want other nurses to know about a career as an infusion nurse?
For nurses seeking career growth, infusion nursing offers a path to management, even reaching the role of a chief nursing officer. It’s a field where better wages and improved work-life balance are attainable. Infusion nursing opens doors to enhanced opportunities, allowing nurses to infuse better prospects into their professional journey.

National IV Nurse Day: Crystal Miller Discusses DEI

National IV Nurse Day: Crystal Miller Discusses DEI

Today’s observation of National IV Nurse Day marks a year filled with change, upheaval, and continuous learning like few other years.

Minority Nurse spoke with Crystal Miller RN, past president of the Infusion Nurses Society (INS) and current co-chair of its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force, to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic and the social upheaval around race has shaped the way INS is defining a path around DEI.

Above all else, the role of an infusion nurse (also known as a vascular access nurse) is one that focuses on the patient. “The pandemic has challenged us to look at the way we deliver infusion and vascular access care in our patients as never before,” says Miller.

IV nurses work in roles where taking care of immediate needs is essential, but, she says, they must constantly look at the bigger picture. “We have to look down the road so our patients get what they need from the outset,” she says. “We need to look long and hard at the best device to treat patients, especially those who are impacted by COVID-19.” A device or approach that might have worked when a patient was admitted to a facility may no longer be effective as the patient’s condition changes.

Miller is unequivocally proud of her specialty and of being part of the INS. “We are more than the equipment we use,” she says. And with vascular access as a global issue, Miller says INS decided to take a fresh look at what a global approach means to their nurses and patients.

“We’ve always been proactive in how we deliver the care we give,” she says. “We make sure the people who are at the table represent those in their areas.” Doing so makes sure INS is present and aware of diversity, equity, and inclusion issues and how they impact healthcare delivery and outcomes. “We want to make sure people have a voice,” says Miller. “And we want to make sure as an organization that every patient we see has a voice and is represented.”

DEI work is not a one-and-done deal, says Miller. “Whatever we develop and put forth, we need to make sure it’s ongoing work.” That means looking at how diversity is represented including different genders and identities, sexual preference and orientation, practice settings, and culture and race. “To the best of the abilities of our organization, we want to make sure we don’t put forth something that doesn’t consider how people feel,” she says. “We challenge others to listen with empathy and care.”

One of the best ways to learn about and to improve on DEI work is to talk with people, says Miller. Learning about what is important to people, how they do things, and how they see the world imparts the kind of detailed knowledge that can make all the difference to a patient.  Once you are informed, you can always do things a little better and that gets noticed. “When you prove your credibility, there are no limits,” she says. “When you recognize things are outdated, you change them up.”

With a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, a new interaction with patients opens up, especially with those from underrepresented populations. “Patients are grateful for the advocacy,” says Miller, “because there is someone in their corner, who is advocating for them and listening to them.”

The pandemic has shifted DEI efforts in ways that no one could have predicted. Of all the different healthcare practices or interactions patients may or may not be comfortable with, the need to separate people and keep them isolated has created an enormous burden for families and healthcare staff. “There are no family members present who can speak to a patient’s preferences,” says Miller. Vascular access nurses have shifted into finding innovative techniques to overcome this barrier.

On this year’s IV Nurses Day, Miller says although the typical celebrations aren’t possible, it’s still important to honor the work infusion and vascular access nurses do. “For me personally, I think there’s so much uncertainty in work and in healthcare now—it’s good to know we get to recognize our specialty,” says Miller. “We are the best resources where vascular access is concerned and we take that very seriously.”