Nursing Management of Invasive Devices

This Advisory Opinion Supplement was prepared by the South Carolina Board of Nursing in response to questions and requests for consultation on the role of RN's and LPN's in managing catheters, lines and tubes in the various body systems.

The State Board of Nursing recognizes that roles of licensed practical nurses and registered nurses vary in their management of invasive devices (catheters, lines and tubes). The State Board of Nursing utilizes the Nurse Practice Act, position statements of specialty nursing organizations, practice experts, and legal counsel in determining what constitutes competent and safe practice for the registered nurse and licensed practical nurse. The contents of this supplement and of the Advisory Opinions are intended to serve as guidelines for facilities and agencies in their establishment of practice policies, procedures, and statements of responsibility and accountability.

The management of invasive devices (catheters, lines and tubes) requires specialized education and competency in practice. Therefore, the Board of Nursing advises the nursing department of the employing agency/facility to:

  1. consult legal counsel, administrative, and medical departments to develop policies and procedures defining and describing the practices of licensed nurses;
  2. include the specific qualifications, specialized education, and supervision parameters in the policies and procedures;
  3. include delineation of physicians' and responsibilities in the policies and procedures;
  4. provide organized preparation with theoretical and didactic components as well as supervised practice and clinical competency verification.

For the Registered Nurse

For the Licensed Practical Nurse