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Medical and nursing assistants
The number of phone calls from medical assistants looking for training on infusion therapy is greatly increasing in our office. I am trying to learn more about what these unlicensed people are actually doing with infusion therapy. If you have worked with any of these staff members, can you provide any feedback on what tasks they are allowed to do and in what healthcare setting you have seen this. I have heard some horrible stories about what they have been expected to do in physician's offices such as using the same syringe on multiple patients! I have learned that their scope of practice varies between states. My goal is to explore the need for training classes for this group. I am thinking that they are performing peripheral catheter insertion but have serious reservations about the other medication administration tasks.  Any feedback about what is happening in your area would be very much appreciated. Thanks, Lynn
rivka livni
Hi Lynn, in our hospital we

Hi Lynn, in our hospital we have now MEA (Medical Evaluation Assistant) and in our Infusion clinic they are NOT allowed to inject anything IV but they can stick for draw labs, take VS, and assist RN.

Our PICC service consists of one RN and one MEA. The MEA was trained to assist in sterile procedures of PICC insertions, she helps in setting the complete sterile field, she helps with drappings and preparing the U/S, she hands out any sterile things we need during difficult insertions, she helps with agitated patients during insertion,she does all the non RN stuff like inventory of PICC equipment, takes care of our PICC Cart, cleans the U/S after each use, when we finish an insertion and the dressing is applied over the new PICC, I just walk away to do my CXR order and documentation while she stays with the patient, gets rid of the sharps, takes down the drapes and bring the patient's room back to its previous order, which allows the RN to do all the RN stuff.

I can not imagine doing PICC without the MEA, I am never alone during an insertion.

Our Infusion Center could not function without the MEA, who also answer phones, goes to pharmacy to pick up the IV meds, comfort patients, bring them food, helps with scheduling future infusions and takes the patient downstairs when it is time for them to go home.

A well trained MEA is priceless.

Hopes this helps you. 

Victoria Sallese, RN, VAT,

Victoria Sallese, RN, VAT, PICC service

It probably depends on what your state laws are. In MD, our laws are very specific. Assistants are not allowed to administer IV medications. They can start IV's under a nurse or MD's supervision, but nothing longer than 2 inches. Like Rivka says, they are extremely useful for the non-Rn stuff.

Victoria Sallese, RN, VAT, PICC service

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