6 benefits of incorporating standards of practice

Vascular access management blog

Publish date: Aug. 13, 2021

Professional standards of healthcare practice center around providing safe patient care while working towards the goals of positive patient outcomes. Nurses play a central role in helping healthcare teams reach these positive patient outcomes.

In January of 2021, the Infusion Nurses Society updated the evidence-based Infusion Therapy Standards of Practice (INS/SOP). The 224-page document was compiled by an international team of authors who collectively parsed through 2,500 sources of literature to help vascular and infusion teams reach the aforementioned goals. The standards reflect the unique challenges of different procedures and roles related to vascular access.

What are the potential benefits of incorporating the new INS/SOP into your institution’s vascular access management programs and policies? We will discuss seven of those potential benefits in the following points.

1) Define Scope of Practice

The INS/SOP clearly state the importance of defining the role of each healthcare team member as it pertains to infusion care and vascular access.

In section one under Scope of Practice (page s15) the document states, “Clinicians prescribing and/or administering infusion therapy and performing vascular access insertion and management are qualified and competent to perform these services based on their licensure and certification and practice within the boundaries of their identified scope of practice.”

This is a key component of the INS/SOP for obvious reasons: practice outside of the scope of education and licensure may harm a patient.

At the bare minimum, it is important for healthcare organizations to have a clear understanding of what each vascular access team member can deliver based on their licensure and education. This may promote patient safety and may also help reduce the chances for poor outcomes.

Organizational leaders should take special note of the statement from the Scope of Practice section (page s16): “Although the legal scope of practice for a profession may be broad, the actual scope of what the individual may perform is limited to privileges granted by the organization.”

Thus, in the discussion and formulation of institutional policies, leaders should have a thorough understanding of the scope of each license so that the role of each member of a vascular access team is clearly delineated so that each member of the vascular access team, and more broadly each practitioner on the healthcare team, is working at the top of their license.

2) Help ensure the Safety of Patients

Patient safety is a global public health concern. According to the World Health Organization, there is a 1 in 300 chance1 that a patient will be harmed in a healthcare setting.

When a healthcare organization understands the scope of vascular access, they can invest in the staff needed and formulate policies that prioritize patient safety.

Section Two (page s43) of the updated INS/SOP document covers patient and clinician safety.

3) Adapt to New Evidence-Based Practices

Standard 7.2 under the sub-section titled Evidence-Based Practice and Service (page s34) states, “The clinician uses the highest level of research findings and current best evidence to expand knowledge in infusion therapy, validate and improve practice, advance professional accountability, and enhance evidence-based decision-making.”

Research is a powerful driving force for sound medical care and practice. Thus, it makes sense that standards of practice would incorporate this section and ensuing statements. This also puts the task on organizations to provide resources that make it possible for healthcare professionals to gain access to relevant journals and/or attend conferences where new research is published and discussed.

4) Reach Positive Patient Outcomes

Standards of practice allow nurses to work towards achieving positive outcomes.

Nurses and healthcare teams overall can help ensure that these goals are achieved with as many patients as possible by incorporating the INS/SOP into daily practice.

5) Ensure Documentation

“If you don’t document it, it did not happen,” is more than a mantra in healthcare. It is key evidence that a patient received care. While it may not be all-inclusive depending on practice jurisdiction, the updated INS/SOP provides an excellent foundation for appropriate documentation for vascular access procedures to help ensure completeness.

Documentation should include accurate, complete and chronological care including, for example, the time and date when a vascular access device (VAD) was inserted, what type of VAD was inserted, what the indication is for the VAD and anesthesia used (if any). Adverse events should also be documented, and is clearly stated in the updated INS/SOP (page s43).

All of this is crucial information that helps support the continuity of care for patients. If a patient is transferred or referred to another healthcare facility, the new healthcare providers may seamlessly and safely “pick up” from where the other team ended their infusion care.

6) Evaluating the Success of Vascular Access Care

Collecting and analyzing data is an important pillar in improving healthcare overall. The INS/SOP may provide institutions with guideposts that can help them to formulate evidence-based practice benchmarks for evaluating the success of their vascular access programs.


Nurse leaders and healthcare organizations overall, can rely on the INS/SOP in the provision of excellent infusion care that may promote positive patient outcomes.

For more information on how BD can help your facility assess your adherence to the standards of practice please go to Partner with BD.



1 World Health Organization. (2019). Patient Safety. Accessed online on April 13, 2021.

2 Birkhäuer, J., Gaab, J., Kossowsky, J., Hasler, S., Krummenacher, P., Werner, C., & Gerger, H. (2017). Trust in the health care professional and health outcome: A meta-analysis. PloS one, 12(2), e0170988.

Infusion Nurses Society. Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice. J Infus Nurs. 2021.