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Drawing blood


I transferred from a telemetry floor to an adolescent psych floor. On the telemetry floor, we frequently had to start IVs and draw blood. I sucked at both. Even though I would go through all the steps correctly...tourniquet tight enough, arm held low, etc. etc. I would always either never see the blood return or I would see it and then it's gone or the vein blows. I've always felt so horrible about it because most of the other nurses never had a problem with drawing blood or starting IVs, even when they did, it wasn't often. Now on the psych floor, I don't have to deal with IVs anymore (thank God!!) But, I still have to draw blood. I thought it would be super easy on kids because most of them have excellent veins. Then, I had to draw blood from one strong teenager with very good veins that popped out so good that you could see them from across the room, and when I went to draw his blood, I didn't see any blood return at all in the needle. I told a senior nurse that I tried, but, it seemed as if his veins kept rolling. She stuck that needle in his arm and drew the blood in like 2 seconds it seemed like. I felt terrible. I was wondering if they were talking about me behind my back saying, "She came from a medical floor and she can't even draw blood." Can any of you senior nurses give me some good advice or tips on drawing blood? Thank you.


Specializes in Home Health, Private Duty, Education. Has 11 years experience.

I would suggest taking a phlebotomy course to refine your skills.

hotflashion, BSN, RN

Specializes in Foot care. Has 4 years experience.

Maybe it's a case of practice, practice, practice. I'm not an experienced nurse, I am in fact a new grad. But I'm taking a phlebotomy class with the Red Across, hoping this will heighten my appeal as a job candidate. We start practicing on each other tomorrow. Yikes! I expect my reluctance to stick and be stuck will wear off after this class. It might be hard for a working person to take this class; it's 3 days a week, 9-3:30, for 4 weeks; after that, 100 clinical hours (unpaid internship). This is for certification but of course it's the practice, practice, practice portion that you need.

Are you inserting the needle too far into the vein? i.e., is the tip sitting along the distal edge? Do you just happen to be unlucky enough to frequently insert the needle downstream of a valve? I'm not sure yet whether the needle is inserted bevel side up or bevel side down, but do you have that right? How about your angle of insertion, that must be important...

Just a few thoughts.