I am a nursing student in a large metropolitan area and have had the unique experience of having clinicals in several different urban hospitals. And so, I see many different styles of practice from the nurses.
My biggest concern about the discrepancies I see is related to the access ports on IV tubing. When you are using them to either connect tubing or even just to flush the hep-lock line with NS, aren't you supposed to clean the port with alcohol first? Most professional nurses I observe do not do this.
If you do not clean the port, isn't there the potential of introducing bacteria directly into the patient's bloodstream? Also, when disconnecting a patient from their drip momentarily (for instance, if they are ambulatory and would like to take a shower) aren't you supposed to protect the insertion-end of the IV line by either capping it or reserving it in a (previously cleaned) access port? I see many nurses who just drape the line on the pole, with the insertion end touching all sorts of surfaces in the process. Doesn't this practice put the patient at risk for infection when the line is reconnected to their hep-lock?
If my concern about infection is valid, why do I see so many nurses practicing unsafely?
Thank you for the clarification.