At home practice for initiating an IV?

Students Student Assist Nursing Q/A


anyone have any recommendations on something to use at home to practice starting an IV on? I know you can practice giving injections to an orange, but what about IV's? Some classmates thought of using a banana but I think the peel would be to thick for the catheter.... and I only have 2 catheters, so I need to make them last! ?



:nurse: 2nd semester ADN student, and loving every minute of it.

10 Answers


Kenneth Oja, PhD, RN

1 Article; 23 Posts

Specializes in teaching, research, and evidence-based practice.

It's great that you want to get extra practice, but my first recommendation is to use the equipment provided by your school. See if your nursing school lab has open lab hours if you feel you are not getting enough practice during scheduled lab time. If you're unable to do this, or still feel you are not getting enough time for practice, start with the banana! Your classmates were right in suggesting this, as banana skin can do an impressive job of creating the feeling of IV insertion. Or, if it is within your budget, order an actual IV practice arm or pad.


1,229 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

i have a question for you. sorry i cant answer yours. but my mother works for a lab and she has been bringing me home different tubes S, L, P containers and she also brought me a requisition form so i could learn what test is for what container or top color. so today she is bringing me a needle so i can learn how to draw blood. my question to you is if i wanted to learn how to draw blood what could i use. i know my friend said a orange was to learn how to do intermuscular injections and the hot dog was for TB, so any suggestions.


1,229 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

yeah because of the dermal and the layers of skin. i just know my friend who is in her first semester nursing program that is what they have been using. a hot dog, an orange, and crystal lite for giving fluid based injections. i dont know what to do about me. i have all this stuff and im learning, but no practice and the phleb course doesnt start until june.. so i want to know a little bit before then lol


78 Posts

The best thing I found to practice on is the tubing you get for the aquarium. You know the clear plastic tubing that is used for fish tank air pumps and you can buy it practically anywhere. Cut enough off and then tape it to a table or something to keep it stable and practice away.


1,229 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

is that for the IV? im still looking for phlebotomy. i have all these supplies and nothing to practice on.


446 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU, Medsurg.

Well,....when we learned IV's I had an IV party. Someone I know is a home health nurse and came over with IV supplies and we all practiced on each other, my husband and my father. We all have 2 arms, so we got some good practice in. Not exactly sure how ethical it was but it was great practice. If you don't have a brave family, I'm thinking that the fish tank tubing would be a good idea, you could even figure out how to rig it with water in it so when you hit you would get "flash". Just a thought.


1,237 Posts

Specializes in critical care, PACU.

use your peers to practice! but you can also use a styrofoam cup for practicing IV insertion because you feel a similar little "pop"

Practicing on the bf and friends is much better though!

Maybe some rubber tubing? I don't know how rigid or thick the fish tube is. I learned my phleb & IV skills through the military. We used each other (even EJ's & Femorals). Maybe you can thread the rubber tubing through the hot dog? For suturing, we used pigs feet or hamhocks from the butcher. Other than another person, I've only seen those phleb/IV arms that will give "blood" or a flash. If you haven't already, maybe start feeling your friends & family's veins (with & without gloves). Those with more body fat can be a challenge.

Good luck! :)

If I hear of anything, I'll let you all know.


1,446 Posts

Specializes in ED, ICU, PACU.

Turkey worked for me. You can find some nice veins in the thigh and in the neck, plus you get the real feel for it. Did chicken to practice IO insertion when I did PALS for the first time.


446 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU, Medsurg.

PrettyLadie, you can really use any of these ideas to practice plebotomy as well as IV. You may not get flash because you are "practicing" but the idea behind both is to hit a vein and get the feel of puncturing. The equipment you use for each is different but you can still use any of the above ideas to practice.

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