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Bone Marrow Aspiration and Biopsy Performed by RNs

A Review of Clinical Practice

Draganski, Eryn MSN, APRN, AGCNS-BC; Deason, Trisha MHA, MSN, NE-BC; Craig, Fiona E MD

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: September 2019 - Volume 119 - Issue 9 - p 47–53
doi: 10.1097/
Cultivating Quality

Background: At our institution, RNs have performed bone marrow aspiration and biopsy procedures for more than 10 years. A recent review of our institutional policies and practices regarding RN-performed bone marrow procedures was intended to ensure that we were using a safe and evidence-based approach and prompted this program evaluation.

Methods: We conducted a literature search and review of our institutional policies and practices regarding RN-performed bone marrow procedures. All elements of our clinical practice were reviewed and evaluated, including outcomes.

Results: Between 2010 and 2017, the RN team completed a total of 10,867 bone marrow procedures in our hospital-based ambulatory infusion center. The team included 15 nurses who completed up to eight patient procedures each weekday. Patient satisfaction rates were consistently high and complication rates were very low: less than 1% of all patients experienced postprocedure bleeding, and less than 2% required urgent medical care within 24 hours of the procedure. In an analysis of bone marrow procedures performed between 2016 and 2017, the quality of bone marrow samples obtained by the RN team remained high, consistently meeting or exceeding our 95% clinical adequacy goal.

Conclusions: There is limited evidence in the literature supporting the practice of RN-performed bone marrow procedures. Our review revealed a robust program with excellent clinical and diagnostic outcomes that can be emulated by other institutions interested in pursuing RN-performed bone marrow procedures.

The authors discuss the policies and practices of their program to train RNs to perform bone marrow procedures, its clinical and diagnostic outcomes, and the opportunity for nurses to work to their full scope of practice.

Eryn Draganski is a clinical nurse specialist at the Mayo Clinic Arizona in Phoenix, where Trisha Deason is a nurse manager and Fiona E. Craig is a hematopathologist and professor of laboratory medicine and pathology. Contact author: Eryn Draganski, The authors have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

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