No IVs in my Nursing School, opinions please?

  1. Hi,
    I just found out that we as students will not be starting IV's and that this is an advanced skill that will be acquired after I graduate.
    I've read other posts were students are starting IV's so I am wondering is it just because my hospital has their own IV team, or is it a "sucky" nursing school?
    I kind of feel dissappointed. I had assumed that this would be a very basic Nursing skill I would learn.
    Any one care to comment? Is this the norm?
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  2. 48 Comments

  3. by   allthingsbright
    I think that is pretty normal--we start IV's in certain clinical groups according to facilty. So, this semester in OB our class had three clinical sites--two of which WOULD NOT permit students to start IV's. I was at the hospital that would allow students to do basically whatever with supervision, so I started IV's and did IV pushes! All supervised, of course.

    It may be an issue w/ the hospitals your school contracts with, not your school. But they could at least show you in lab. We ALL do it in lab at my school (and yes, we start them on each other) and check off on it in our SR year.

    GL!
  4. by   justjenny
    We did not learn IVs in my school, either. There are some skills that you will learn outside of nursing school - and there are some skills that you will learn in nursing school but will be terrible at until you are comfortable in your RN role and doing those tasks often. (ie: IM injections in my case)

    Good luck
    Jenny
  5. by   julsywulsy
    Thanks for your replies, I feel a little more re-assured now.!! :-)
  6. by   vrhodes
    Gosh, starting IVs is one of the first skills that we learnt in our tutorials, and all of the wards I have been to have allowed us to do it.. strange I think...

    edited to say: okay so my teminology is different to everyone else's here, by starting an IV I thought you meant putting up a bag. We don't learn to cannulate (as we say) until the hospital trains us in it when were are an RN.
    Last edit by vrhodes on Oct 7, '06
  7. by   BlueEyedRN
    We did have the opportunity to start IVs in clinicals, but I only did it two times and I'm still as terrible at it as I was before. It sounded like all the nurses starting at the same time were in the same boat, no matter where they went to school. One thing that I've heard you can do as a new nurse is to ask your preceptor to set you up for a day in same-day surgery. A lot of these patients have nice healthy veins. I've only been able to attempt on really difficult patients that even the IV nurse couldn't get. Don't feel like you're going to be behind, even with those who did get the chance.
  8. by   jade-athyst
    We weren't even allowed to practie on eachother in school! We had an IV "lab" but didn't get any actual IV experience. Working as a new nurse, I realized that most employers are aware of this. My hospital sends each new grad down to the ASU for a day, just to practice starting IV's.
  9. by   adnstudent2007
    My school also doesn't teach us to start IVs. I believe it is related to the school's insurance. We are able to IV pushes and discontinue IVs. All the hospitals in our area know this and don't expect us to be able to know how to start IVs.
  10. by   Lisa CCU RN
    the first IV I ever started was on a real person in the lab. We can practice on each other in the lab with supervision and at the hospitals we go to. It must be the hospitals you are going to that are saying no to the IV starts. We are allowed to do anything with our instruction or RN present, including IV pushes. I don't think we can do electrolytes though.
  11. by   SylviaC
    I just graduated from nursing school in May and NO we didn't do IV's in this school either. We were told we couldn't practice on each other and the facilities that we were at for clinical did not allow students to start IV's.
    I didn't need the instruction because as an LPN I have been starting IVs for at least ten years, but I definitely feel that should be included in the instructions. We did get to do IV pushes, but let me just say that the first time you get to do an IV push at the facility where you work, it is a whole different ball game. (At least it was for me) I read and reread the drug book to make sure that I was doing it right and was pushing it at the right speed. When you are responsible for the pushes and don't have an instructor leaning over your shoulder it is most disconcerting.
    The college that I attended is trying to get the clinical facilities to allow nursing students to start IVs. I hope they are successful..
  12. by   moongirl
    bummer! I have started 5 Iv's and I am in my 3rd semester. We also get an outpt experience where we get to start as many as we can possibly handle, mine is coming up soon!
    we are not allowed to start pediatric IVs, but could start them in OB, on the mom. We also gave the newborns their K shot !!!!!!
    Last edit by moongirl on Oct 7, '06
  13. by   Daytonite
    we weren't allowed to do ivs when i was in school. state law. you had to have an rn after your name to do them. when i finally got my chance, it turned into a horrible nightmare. the hospitals put all us new grads through an iv training program, but there is nothing like hands on experience. it took me many years to hone my iv skills. if you look to the left, you will see that one of my fields of practice was iv therapy. it took hard work to get to that level of achievement. part of being an iv therapist was teaching people how to start ivs. that included nurses and medical students alike. i can tell you from personal experience that in a lot of cases the anxiety people feel at doing this overrides much of the theory they learned in their books. we had to watch and coach them very carefully so they didn't tear up the patient's veins in their frustration to perform a successful stick. i have seen learners attempt to twist the iv needle, contort a patient's limb and end up with a bloody mess in trying to accomplish a successful iv placement, which at that point, isn't going to happen anyway. that is just wrong.

    starting ivs is a very serious thing and some states and nursing programs feel that you need to prove your worth by becoming a licensed nurse first. i think that many who are new at it erroneously feel that it is not something that is hard to do once they've seen an experienced person insert one. what you're not likely to observe is the screwed-up attempts. and, there's probably just as many of those as there are successful sticks. what nurse is going to let you observe her failure if she doesn't feel confident at inserting ivs? the patient also needs to be taken into consideration as well because they are the ones who are the recipients of your first attempts. getting stuck by an iv needle hurts! it's doesn't carry the same level of comfort for the patient as some of the other procedures you are learning.

    just be patient. read up on the procedure. i just posted this first website on another thread yesterday. watch how other rns and lpns do it. your time will come.

    http://www.childbirths.com/euniversity/ivtherapy.htm - iv therapy. a very nice one page tutorial from e-university that includes the indications for iv therapy, the various types of peripheral iv devices (includes pictures), a discussion and explanation of isotonic, hypotonic, hypertonic fluids, the difference between crystalloid and colloid solutions, choosing veins, the steps in venipuncture (includes drawings), how to discontinue an iv, and a short discussion at the end on calculating drip rate.

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f18/iv-t...icks-3793.html - iv tips and tricks

    http://enw.org/ivstarts.htm - iv starts. . .improving your odds! a very nice article on starting ivs.

    http://www.bumc.bu.edu/dept/content....69&pageid=8063 - a short video on starting iv's and using iv devices to collect blood specimens. click on "insertion of an intravenous catheter". (as an aside. . .the last iv team i worked on trialed that product when it was first developed.)
  14. by   michar
    I already do IV's (EMS) and had no clue that there are schools out there that don't teach IV placement.

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