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ANS Adv Nurs Sci. 1999 Sep;22(1):52-62.

Venous envy: the post-World War II debate over IV nursing.

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School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.


After World War II, a debate ensued over whether nurses should perform intravenous (IV) therapy. The debate was resolved by permitting nurses to do venipunctures as physicians' agents and by recirculating the familiar tautology: if nurses were already doing venipunctures, they must be simple enough for nurses to do. The vein was a portal of entry for nurses, but one with limited access. What was ultimately ceded to nurses was not full jurisdiction over a domain of nursing practice, but rather a limited settlement in a domain of medical practice. The debate over IV therapy demonstrated how technology, in combination with ideology, can both create and destroy nursing jurisdictions.

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