Published Feb 28, 2005
You are reading page 2 of How did you "get" the skill of starting IV's?
apaisRN, RN, CRNA
I work MICU, with most patients grossly edematous, peripheral veins shot, and a central line. A nurse from the IV team told me these were the best patients to learn on. I think she meant because they are hard and most of them are gorked. But I need some confidence on the easy ones first! And if the patient is anything less than fully sedated, I feel like it's cruel to practice my IV technique on them when they already have a central line. The IV team is a great service but for nurses like me, who've never worked without one, it prevents you from ever developing the skill.
Sometimes a little extra time with the alcohol prep will make the vein a little more visible. The "go deep and level off" is the rule. Also a lot of people get their flashback and dont advance either the catheter OR the needle enough so that when they ease up on the traction on the distal end of the pipe the vein pulls away from the catheter. I usually get my flash and advance the whole works forward just a little , then the catheter alone, then release traction.
jeepgirl, LPN, NP
I have the same prob!
I can get blood out of almost anything... I rule at lab. But actually getting an IV in for me is just tourture. It doesn't help that I'm a peds nurse... and when I try to start, I'm usually trying to hit a moving target!!!! I've started about 5 IV's since I started. However, we haven't been getting a lot of chances to start on my unit lately... ER has been sending up good IV's, and our direct admits usually come in the day, and the day nurses start them.
I"ll be watching this thread for some tips.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. I know this is hard when you miss so many, your confidence level is below gutter level. I was fortunate to be able to spend time with nurses in Out Patient Surgery and GI Lab where the patient usually are relatively healthy with pretty good veins. The key is finding someone to be your mentor, spend time with you and give you guidance in this skill that can only be perfected by practice.
A few tips I live by:
Throughly assess patient and determine if this is a good learning experience, do they only have 1 palpable (not visual) vein. If so I'd seek help.
Insert the smallest size catheter that will accomodate therapy
Take your time, take a deep breath.
Allow time for venous dilitation. Avoid slapping of vein as this could cause venous spasm. Try heat, hanging extremity over side of bed, open and closing of fist etc.
Good lighting is a must and having all your supplies before entering room.
During venipuncture I do the following
Allow skin prep to dry thouroughly this will help prevent a chemical phlebitis
Apply tourniquet 6-8 inches above intended site
Keep skin tight, easier to puncture skin and thread catheter off
Approach vein slowly and at a 15-20 degree angle
Wait for flash, sometimes takes a couple of seconds, esp with newer safety IV catheters
Once you get a flash lower catheter completely flat and advance a little further into vein to make sure the catheter as well as bevel is in vessel
Keeping catheter flat push the catheter forward off of the needle.
Hope this helps a little :)
P_RN, ADN, RN
This is a site aimed at MRI/CT techs BUT when you get about 1/3 down there a number of excellent pictures and instructions.
If there gorked then practice away. Quit finding crutches and learn how to stick. What's cruel is not to learn when you have the opportunity.
Mmmmm, thanks for the support.
javanurse2000, BSN, RN
Maybe the hospital would let her spend a few hours in outpatient surgery starting IV's with a preceptor.
I have a rep for being a good IV starter. It's not true. I have to stick twice about 50% of the time. But If I have the time, I always do the other nurses IVs that they never want to do, if they ask me to. So, they think I'm great and I get to practice on their pts.
When I started as a new grad, I didn't hit many IV's at all. Maybe 1 to 100. Then i did a rotation in our tiny ER (back at the old hospital) and the nurse's told me that I am allowed to go for the AC veins if I can't find anything else. Since then, I look low and then Go for the AC if nothing is found. My skills have grown tremendously in 2 years and I also found that praying before every stick and thanking God at the end of a successful stick helps me.
I learned the rule of get the flash, go 1 more mm with the needle then thread off. Works 95% of the time for me. My learning now is focusing on little kids. I work in a Level I ER now and so I am having to learn the in's and out's of sticking a kiddo.
I learned after working Radiology for many years, starting ALL the out-pt IVs for CT scans and IVPs -- sometimes 20-40 per day, all varieties of skin, all availabilities of veins (a lot of post-chemo pts for CT f/u = fragile veins).
Time and experience just doing it. It's sight and feel and intuition -- sometimes imaging in your mind just how far down you think the vein is, from palpating. Sometimes all you have to go for is the little blue line, not a big juicy one that pops up.
I always have trouble when I rush, too. Take your time, make yourself comfortable. I can't start 'em when I'm stretched out with my back hurting. The arm has to be stablized, too, for me. Not hanging in the air, it moves too much. I try to stack the deck in my favor. :)
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