NORWOOD, Mass., Jan. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Infusion therapy has evolved from an extreme measure used on only the most critically ill to a highly specialized form of treatment used for 90% or more of all hospitalized patients. No longer confined to the hospital setting, infusion therapies are now delivered in alternative care sites such as the home, skilled nursing facilities, and physician offices. Nursing involvement in the practice of infusion therapy has also become a highly specialized practice. During the last half-century, the role of the nurse in infusion therapy has changed tremendously. The 21st-century infusion nurse is responsible for integrating the holistic principles of medicine and nursing, management, marketing, education, and performance improvement into the patient's plan of care. Clinical expertise is of utmost importance. Nurses who specialize in infusion therapy, and in particular, credentialed nurses (Certified Registered Nurse Infusion—CRNI ®), are an integral part of the health care team that provides the correct dose of medication and keeps patients safe from catheter-related bloodstream infections. On January 25, infusion nurses and other health care professionals will observe National IV Nurse Day. In 1980, the US House of Representatives designated this day each year to honor and recognize the accomplishments of the nation's infusion nurse specialists, as well as the Infusion Nurses Society (INS). This year's celebration is special for INS, as it marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Society. INS CEO Mary Alexander, MA, RN, CRNI ®, CAE, FAAN, stated that "INS and infusion therapy have come a long way in 40 years. Medical technology has changed dramatically, and our specialty looks very different from what it looked like 40 years ago. Celebrating IV Nurse Day gives us an opportunity to recognize the evolution of our specialty and the significant contributions that infusion nurses make in their patients' lives." This year's theme, "IV Nurses—Real. Life. Heroes," acclaims the importance of the infusion nurse's involvement on the health care team. IV Nurse Day promotes the advancement of the specialty and simultaneously recognizes 40 years of continuing education, advocacy, and professional development offered by the infusion nursing community.