In Italy prior to 2006 central venous catheters were inserted only by anaesthesiologists. Nurses were excluded based on professional profile. In 2005 the nursing staff of the Pain Therapy and Palliative Care Unit (PTPCU) at Santa Chiara Hospital in Pisa, proposed that nurses be permitted to insert Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters (PICCs). The recommendation was submitted to the Italian National Board of Nurses with a request to implement a training program. The Board approved the proposal in January 2006. Initially the PTPCU nursing staff had PICC training programs through the St. Chiara Hospital Vocational Training Office. The program was initially implemented by a nurse volunteer who had critical care training, intravenous therapy experience and who demonstrated competence with PICC placement based on training by PTPCU interventional anaesthesiologists. To date, nearly 250 successful PICC placements have been performed using the Modified Seldinger Technique (MST) in conjunction with ultrasound guidance. Physicians and nurses identified potential candidates and the patients were assessed by the PICC nurse. The combination of PICC/MST was found to facilitate placement in patients with impalpable vessels and above the antecubital fossa as well as improve freedom of movement and reduce the likelihood of patients accidentally dislodging the device. The primary reasons for PICC placement included antibiotic or antiviral therapy (26%), total parenteral nutrition administration (35%) and chemotherapy (39%). There were 211 catheters used exclusively for inpatients and 39 catheters exclusively for outpatients. The PICC program resulted in an excellent safety profile, a high success rate, and few post-procedural complications. It was a less costly option compared to centrally inserted, tunnelled, or implanted central vascular access devices; it improved the quality of nursing care and decreased patients' waiting time for vascular access placement.

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