Alright, so I am a nursing student in my pediatric rotation. Today was the second day of this clinical for us, so everything is still pretty new. My patient was 5wks old, only 7.6 pounds. Early in the shift, my instructor came with me to put a new secondary line in the room as the first one had been damaged somehow. Because there was no medications running through that line at the time, we left it coiled up with the tape around it so that the next person to use it would know it had air in it and needed to be primed. A few hours later, we went in to set up the med..my classmate was doing it and I was observing from the back (this was the first time either of us had done this). My instructor was walking through the methods with the other student, and I noticed that they did not prime the line, so I asked "shouldn't she prime that line?" She said "No, it's already been done." I assumed that since I was standing in the back, I may have missed when my classmate did this. The second we walked out, I asked her if she primed it, she said no. We immediately went to the teacher to tell her that an IV line full of air was about to infuse into this patient, and she just acted like it was no big deal. She calmly got up and walked down the hall to fix the error, and did not say a word about it to either of us afterwards. Am I crazy or could this have been a fatal mistake? Both of us said something in the room about it, and it's like she didn't take us seriously because she's the teacher and we are just the students. Any advice on what I should do about this, if anything?
Sidenote--this was not one of those pumps that the line runs through that can detect when there is air in the line..it's one of the ones that you attach the syringe to and the line connects directly to a port on the primary line and then you set a time to be infused (sorry I don't know all the technical name of everything..clueless student here!)
Mar 15, '12
by Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN Senior Moderator
Without actually knowing the actual details it is impossible to know what to say.
Yes, IV's have to be flushed. No, they won't run without being flushed. Finally, I would not use an exposed IV tubing (coiled on a table or whatever) as it may be contaminated so I would throw it away. Your instructor probably went down the hall just to be sure after what you said but found everything to be fine. If there was an air amboli....you'd know pretty quick.
Medscape: Medscape Access
VAE (venous air emboli) requires registration but it is free and a great resource.
Last edit by Esme12 on Mar 15, '12