Hi all. Tomorrow I am doing a clinical rotation with an IV therapist.
I am scared to death because I've only started one IV - and that was on a very cooperative classmate!
Does anyone have any tips/strategies that might help?
I would appreciate any feedback.
It takes lots and lots of practice. At least attempt every IV start you can get your hands on, the more often you attempt, you will get the feel for the procedure and an idea of what works and what does not. Some tips: Lower the patients head if that is an option, the veins in the arms will dilate better. Try to follow where the vein goes in order to determine which vein to stick. Place the tourniquet 2-3 in. above the insertion site. Place a towel or blue pad under the arm prior to starting the IV to avoid messes. Stabilize the vein with the thumb of your non-dominant hand prior to venipuncture to keep the vein from rolling. Stick through the skin first bevel up right above the vein, then advance very slowly and shallow until you see the "flash" of blood in the cathlon. Advance the needle at the same angle just a little bit farther (this is something that you get a feel for) maybe a couple of mm's and then remove the stylet and advance the catheter. We use a connection device (the name of it escapes me at the moment) that is screwed onto the catheter hub before connecting to fluids, so we have the option to draw labs before hand. After connecting to fluids, open up all the way to check for patency and watch the site for swelling in case of infiltration. Another tip for hard to see veins: When I used to work for a blood donation service we would "mark" our veins with the plastic end of the betadine swab. Just make a little "o" target on top of the vein with the swab's end before you apply the actual betadine to the site which can further conceal the vein. It was a great tip that I learned from our director. When I started out, I would get so nervous and almost weak kneed while starting IV's, and I would end up psyching myself out. Find a stool or a chair and pull it up to your patient's bedside if possible and get comfortable. Remember to take your time and talk to your patient. Carry on a conversation with them the entire time to ease their nerves. You will appear much more confident and it will really calm your patient which will make your procedure go much more smoothly, as well as less painful. If you can't sit during the procedure, raise the bed up to a comfortable level and assemble all of your supplies ahead of time so that they are right there at your fingertips. Confidence is key when doing IV's and is something that will come with experience. I hope that something I've said helps you. Good luck!
Last edit by cabbage patch rn on Jan 19, '05