How To Make IV Fluids

Nurse with IV fluid
If you are in the medical industry, it's imperative that you know how to make and give IV fluids. Although many times the IV fluid will come in a premixed bag, you'll need to know how to make IV fluids as well. It can be tricky, and of course it's important to get the mixture exactly right; otherwise you risk damaging your patient's health.

Step 1

Understand the formula needed. Most IV bags hold about a quart, or 1000ml.The amount of medication to mix into the saline solution depends on the patient's needs. If you are using a premixed bag, understand that they all look the same but can contain widely varying medications; as with all medical decisions, double check everything.

You may need to determine how many milligrams to deliver based on the patient's weight. For example, if a medication should be given in a concentration of 0.5mg/kg, first convert the patient's weight into kilograms. Then set up a ratio to determine the exact amount.

Step 2

Determine the correct rate of infusion. The patient should never receive more than 4 ounces of IV fluids per hour. There are 30 milliliters in an ounce of fluid; a common IV order, for example, is 125ml/hour. However, you must take the patient's health into account; those with heart or kidney problems should receive a lower amount of fluid. To change the infusion rate, use the IV tubing that delivers the correct drip rate. To determine the drip rate, multiply the amount of IV fluid ordered by the drop factor on the IV tubing, then divide by the time frame ordered.

Step 3

Double check your calculations. ALWAYS double check your calculations. Otherwise, you are risking your patient's health. This is especially important when giving a patient a new or potentially deadly medication. If you are a nursing student, legally you MUST check this calculation with your instructor or doctor before acting on it.

Step 4

Administer the IV fluid solution. Inspect the bag to make sure the bag is not leaking. Set up the correct drip tubing. Then connect the IV bag to the patient, using the method described in your nursing classes.

Most nurses spend a lot of their day dealing with IV fluids. If you are a nurse or work in the medical profession, you must know how to make IV fluids correctly. While medications are necessary, most of them can cause damage if the dose is too high. Conversely, a dose that is too low may not be effective. For medication administration, check that you have the right drug, right patient, right dose, right time, and right route.


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