How to get practice starting IVs / drawing blood

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    Does anyone know if there are classes or such for RNs to get practice starting IVs and drawing blood? I don't feel like I learned them at all in school, and working in LTC I never get to do them. There are the IV certification courses for LPNs, and I've seen some that are open to RNs for a refresher. But they are full 10-week classes covering all the stuff we covered in school, and then actually practicing the sticks is just a small part of the class. I just need the practice doing the sticks. And same with blood draws. Is there any way to get this practice?
  2. 18 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    My local community college offers a 2 quarter long phlebotomy certification class I have considered taking. I also make my family and friends guinea pig our their arms to me for practice. I'm still not very good at it either, but I'm still in school. For my job we have to do lab draws, but I don't work nights so I do them rarely. I'm hoping to work as a flight nurse some day so I really really need to master the whole starting an IV thing. I'm good on someone that is an easy stick, but if they aren't easy, I'm screwed. I try twice, but then pass it off to someone else.
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    Many local community college systems will have one school that specializes in vocational education. Look at the schools to see where LPN IV certifications and RN refresher courses are given.
  5. 2
    Just "stick" with your coworkers!!

    You may gain the experience by taking a class, but you will only lose the skill again if you don't get to do it on a regular basis. Start stabbing your coworkers!
    turnforthenurseRN and Crux1024 like this.
  6. 0
    Quote from PsychNurseWannaBe
    Just "stick" with your coworkers!!

    You may gain the experience by taking a class, but you will only lose the skill again if you don't get to do it on a regular basis. Start stabbing your coworkers!

    Most coworkers are pretty easy sticks. I can stick my coworkers without a problem. I can stick my family without a problem. I can stick my friends without a problem. It's the patients, most of whom are hard sticks, that I have the trouble with.
  7. 2
    Quote from foreverLaur
    Most coworkers are pretty easy sticks. I can stick my coworkers without a problem. I can stick my family without a problem. I can stick my friends without a problem. It's the patients, most of whom are hard sticks, that I have the trouble with.
    Try sticking yourself. The pain and feeling really helps you understand venous access. You can feel the catheter touch the vein, you can feel valves etc.

    PIVs are just something you have to practice. Make sure you learn and truly understand venous A&P, knowing where particular veins are will greatly help you.
    Rob72 and xtxrn like this.
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    It makes my heart ache that you didn't get this in school "enough"....
    Crux1024 and DogWmn like this.
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    Quote from Asystole RN
    Try sticking yourself. The pain and feeling really helps you understand venous access. You can feel the catheter touch the vein, you can feel valves etc.

    PIVs are just something you have to practice. Make sure you learn and truly understand venous A&P, knowing where particular veins are will greatly help you.
    I haven't started a line in several years. I remember quite vividly how to do it, but I know my skill in this is very rusty. I know that I can do it if I had to, but I am nowhere near as efficient as I used to be. Now then, PIV starts are a skill. Like bicycling, it's something that is hard to forget, but you can still do it but to get really good at it after being away takes time.
    Quote from xtxrn
    It makes my heart ache that you didn't get this in school "enough"....
    PIV starts take a few hundred to get a good idea how to do it. School just doesn't usually devote enough time to getting that many sticks, and can't. A great place to get experience doing just IV starts would be Pre-Op for a few days...

    To the OP: Check around with any acute care hospitals that your LTC facility may have a relationship with and see if they'd be willing to have you do PIV starts or lab draws as part of your CE or something like that. The worst they can say is "sorry, we can't/won't do that." It may end up being on your own time, but consider the trade-off!

    If that won't happen, gather up some willing co-workers and do IV starts on them. Not just hand, wrist, AC... also look to get forearm starts too. They can be tricky to do and a little deeper and more difficult to palpate than the other more common sites. Even just try to palpate the veins... Getting the feel for them is the hardest part, IMHO. Just put on a tourniquet and start feeling for those veins!
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    A 2 quarter class in drawing blood seems like overkill to me. I learned blood draws on the job (granted, this was in the hospital, not LTC). Find out if you need to be certified before use lose time/money on this course. If not, see who draws blood at your facility (someone from the laboratory?). See if you can follow them and get some practice. If you feel confident, ask your DON what they can do for you (i.e. doing more sticks).
  11. 0
    I just haven't had much luck in clinical so far. I was on an intermediate cardiac unit this past quarter and the few times an IV needed started (or restarted) all 8 of us fought over it and then whoever won would go into the room and the patient would refuse to let a student touch them - they wanted an expert.

    Our two quarter phlebotomy certification class is described as follows:

    This NAACLS approved program is a 2-quarter sequence in which theory and skills are practiced in the classroom and campus laboratory environment and also in the clinical setting. Upon completion of the 2-quarter program, a certificate is awarded.
    During the first quarter, students learn the theory associated with the collection of blood and practice the skill in the campus laboratory environment. In addition, the student participates in a 40-hour clinical experience in an outpatient setting in which 40 unaided, successful blood collections are performed. In this experience, students are exposed to a variety of patient types and blood collection techniques. Students begin this experience during the sixth week of the quarter attending one day each week for five weeks.
    In the second quarter, students continue the practice in an inpatient clinical setting. Students are required to obtain 60 unaided successful blood collections during this 60 hour clinical experience. Students begin this experience at the beginning of the quarter attending one day each week for eight weeks.


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