I began my infusion nursing career in the emergency department at University Hospital, Tamarac, FL. I was working with an arrogant (imagine that) physician when a patient entered our facility with chest pain. He asked me to start an IV, and I had never done an infusion. I had come from an academic environment in which nurses monitored the lines that were placed by members of the medical staff. Dr. J told me, “Any fool can do it…just read the label.” Well, I read the label and the policy/procedure, and I did it.
As a matter of fact, I did it with such ease that I decided that I had indeed identified my niche within nursing. But, if I was to be an infusion nurse, I needed to know more. So I found a book entitled Plumer’s Principles and Practice of Intravenous Therapy, and I purchased that book and carefully read it from beginning to end. I was lucky to have a mentor; he was a PharmD who aligned me with an anesthesia group for specialized training. The rest is history. Four years later, I was the president-elect of our professional society and the author of the ongoing chapters of Plumer. So who was ‘Plumer?’ The name Ada Plumer is synonymous with infusion therapy. A leader, pacesetter, and co-founder of the professional society, Plumer set the tone for our professional practice, served as a mentor to many nurses, and encouraged excellence in the delivery of intravenous nursing care. Ms. Plumer wrote, “In spite of the increasing use and importance of parenteral therapy, little training is required of the average therapist to carry it out. It is considered sufficient by some that the therapist is able to perform a venipuncture. This does not contribute to the optimal care of the patient whose prognosis depends on quality intravenous therapy. The purpose of this book is to present a source of practical information essential to safe and successful therapy.” Ada Plumer was a visionary; little could she know that the knowledge base would expand to such a critical level and that infusion nurses would advance from novice to expert, continuing to educate nurses through their findings, their practices, and their research.
From my first entry into this rapidly changing field to today, I have used Plumer’s book as a reference, a guide, and a bible for professional practice. Plumer’s retains its position today as the only complete source of information available to the practicing clinician, student, and educator. The growth of our practice is likewise a result of her initial efforts; we remember her with great respect. She set the standard and raised the bar! I was privileged to be chosen as the author of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th editions. Plumer’s is still in the title, but it is by Sharon M. Weinstein. What an honor to have earned my place in infusion therapy history, simply because I read the label, the procedure, and purchased the book. That opened the door to opportunity…to lead infusion teams nationwide, and to serve the professional society as national president and chair of the certification corporation. The rest is indeed history…
I’ve come a long way since that day back in Tamarac, FL, because I started the IV on the patient in room C.