Vent: "I should warn you, I'm a tough stick..."

  1. 21
    Seriously? If I had a dollar for every time I heard this and got it on the first stick, I'd be retired.
    86toronado, crb613, Ciale, and 18 others like this.

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  3. 123 Comments...

  4. 4
    When I was in hospital for MRSA I burned through three people trying to get an IV started, number four settled for using the back of my hand. Where were you in my time of need!
  5. 52
    If I had a dollar for every time I said that and a nurse rolled her eyes, and then had to stick me eight times before calling in a SWAT nurse to do it, I'd be retired.
    Ashleym9831, IndyElmer, Nurse Leigh, and 49 others like this.
  6. 12

    LOL, sometimes people really *are* a tough stick. You might be one. It's just that far more people make that claim than is actually warranted, IMO.


    That's because everybody and their mother thinks they are a tough stick, when only a tiny percentage really are.
    MassED, crb613, mmutk, and 9 others like this.
  7. 8
    I always liked a challenge when it came to IV sticks. One time, a youngish female patient who was a frequent flyer told me that she was a not only a very difficult stick, but she was a "weenie" who couldn't stand pain. Five other nurses had tried and couldn't get a line in, so I tried a 20g (my personal favorite to work with) and got in on the very first attempt. I didn't even use lidocaine---her veins were tiny and I didn't want to distort them---but she swore she barely felt it, and I threaded the catheter so quickly that she didn't really even have time to react.

    After that, she'd always ask for me when she was admitted, and wouldn't let anyone else even attempt to start her IV. Didn't hurt my feelings a bit......I took a lot of pride in my IV skills, and I miss doing it. Sometimes when the paramedics come for one of my residents, they have trouble getting a line in and my fingers begin to itch, wanting the opportunity to pop that sucker in. Sometimes it's all I can do not to say "Here, gimme that!" But then I remember that I haven't started an IV in six years, and just shut up and let them do their job.
    xtxrn, Dalzac, Crux1024, and 5 others like this.
  8. 2
    I'm not even all that good at it. I'm decent, but no rockstar. If *I* can get it on the first try, then they're not really all that hard.

    And honestly, you don't even need to tell me whether you're a hard stick. I can tell by looking. I have done this just a few times.
    SamRNmedic and wooh like this.
  9. 12
    Quote from halkogirl
    If I had a dollar for every time I said that and a nurse rolled her eyes, and then had to stick me eight times before calling in a SWAT nurse to do it, I'd be retired.
    I've never stuck anyone eight times, nor do I roll my eyes. I acknowledge their concerns and use therapeutic communication to build trust.

    Just because I feel an urge to vent on this particular aspect of my job on this particular day in no way, shape, or form, indicates that I jab away maniacally while disregarding the discomfort of my patient. I certainly did not mean to make it sound that way.

    It's just that I think this is something that many Emergency nurses can relate to. How many times a day, day in and day out, do we hear this, and how often is it really the case?

    And, this is *my* vent, I'd thank you very much not to hijack! You're welcome to start your own thread about what it's like to have difficult veins to access.
    Last edit by Anna Flaxis on Oct 17, '11
  10. 7

    I try two times and hit them with an I/O before they get too fussy.
    By the time they've seen the Black n Decker cordless drill it's in...

    (3 words though: lidocaine, lidocaine, lidocaine)
    Always_Learning, PAROPPY, TinyRNgrl, and 4 others like this.
  11. 13
    I saw this and knew there'd be a quick, "But I really AM a hard stick."
    You know what? Saying it's not helpful. If for no other reason than EVERYONE says it.
    If you have *helpful* advice, fine. And you've been a patient enough to have helpful advice. I'm actually a pretty easy stick. But one time it took EIGHT tries. I was severely dehydrated and I was at an urgent care that doesn't start them as often as others. So I could go around saying, "I'm a hard stick, it took them eight tries once to get an IV in me!"
    We get parents telling us, 'It took them 17 tries in the ED." And I think to myself, "When you're kid had just been admitted for dehydration?"
    People also count EVERY stick as an IV stick. Labs drawn before the IV? We're already at two sticks. An LP? Now we're at 3 sticks. A phelbotomist walked by the room and glanced in that direction? That's 4! The person on the next stretcher got an IV? Well you're at 5!
    Oh, and the, "You'll have to use a butterfly." WTH? Someone said that to me, so I luckily had a 20 ga butterful that I chose to use instead of the 22 ga I was going to stick them with. I wished I could tell them what an idiot they were that all they did was get me to use a bigger needle.
    If I can get it as out of practice as I am (cut my hours for school and have had an IV team available that I make use of when I can, so I'm on a run of about one every 3 months), then you ain't that hard of a stick.
    I think there should be a rule: If you utter the words "I'm a hard stick" then you go straight to getting an IO. After all, if you're really a hard stick....
    opossum, psu_213, Butterfliesnroses, and 10 others like this.
  12. 5
    I've had IVs end up in my boob (twice) and foot (more than I can remember) after being harpooned by some folks who I had no reason to believe weren't good at getting IVs in... my veins stink. I've had nurses tell me to ask for a port for Christmas

    But, I know what you're saying, in a different type of vein accessing. I had to do lab draws on drug/alcohol rehab patients. Many had pretty well sclerosed anything resembling a blood vessel. I got most of them, but I'd ask which ones hadn't been beat to death. Then there were the ones who had been stabbing themselves with dulled needles for years, injecting God knows what, and then tell me they were afraid of needles Like the LEGAL kind???? Time to sit down, shut up, and hold still

    I'm so sorry if this sounds like highjacking I just read that... not the intent....just understand a different sort of vein situation

    psu_213, sharpeimom, Anna Flaxis, and 2 others like this.

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