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The Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program at Moffitt Cancer Center is known for having the best patient outcomes. As one of the largest programs in the Southeast, the BMT unit performs more than 400 transplants a year.

As a complex specialty, BMT requires detailed knowledge of intravenous (IV) and central line practices. Moffitt patients often receive multiple IV infusions via central line that require critical thinking to determine compatibility and safe administration. Since the blood samples from patients are used to make clinical decisions, they must be obtained correctly. If not, it can cause a serious medical error.

Due to BMT nursing being a unique field, new graduate nurses coming into the cancer center have limited exposure. This is largely from not receiving the education or hands-on practice with complex IV administration and central line care in nursing school.

To ensure that the new nurses working on the BMT unit at Moffitt had the skillsets for IV infusion and central line, a team of BMT nurses developed an IV Boot Camp.

“The idea started as an informal lesson in 2020 when we started onboarding a lot of newly graduated nurses on the BMT inpatient floor,” said nurse Desiree Marian, patient care manager at Moffitt. “We were finding that they were struggling with the learning of how to deal with line traffic and the abundant number of infusions.” 

As Marian continued to work with the new graduate nurses throughout the years, the informal classes turned into formalized training. She developed an outline and agenda and turned the session into two parts.

For six months, Marian and a team of nurses onboarded 16 new graduate nurses into the BMT unit. Within their 12- to 14-week orientation, the graduate nurses were enrolled in the IV Boot Camp, where they were taught hands-on demonstration of IV administration and central line care.

The BMT nurses presented their results from the boot camp at the 2023 Tandem Meetings, the annual meeting of the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy and Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research.

“We turned this into a PI project because we wanted to test and see if the classes helped increase the nurse’s knowledge and confidence when it came to hanging IVs,” Marian said.

In the phase one session, the new nurses were given a pre-assessment to test their overall knowledge and confidence in IV infusions and central line administration. They then spent an hour throughout their orientation learning the basics such as policy review, IV set up and blood collection guides. 

The second part of the boot camp focused on therapeutic lab monitoring, managing line traffic and troubleshooting common IV infusion alerts, as well as the post-assessment.

After conducting the boot camp, Marian reported that she saw a decrease in safety reports related to IV medication and lab blood collection errors. The results from the pre and post-assessment showed significant progress. Preceptors reported immediate improvement and had the knowledge, confidence and effective education needed for the BMT unit.

Marian says the overall goal for the IV Boot Camp is to improve quality of care.

“The goal is that BMT nurses will have the same exceptional standard of care when it comes to IV administration. This will reduce line infections and medication errors,” Marian said.