I just suck at sticking people.


You are reading page 2 of I just suck at sticking people.

Specializes in Trauma, ER, ICU, CCU, PACU, GI, Cardiology, OR. Has 55 years experience.

obviously, all of us even the experts had to begin somewhere. having said that, just trust yourself and another clue that i find helpful is that i listen to my patients. you see they know their own body better than anyone, they will tell you where to get their best vein. moreover, it may sound repetitious but "practice, practice" on the fake arm whenever you can & as often as you can. in addition, i took the liberty to leave you a link that may help you, i have no doubt that you will conquer this, best of luck in all of your future endeavors~

tailor your i.v. insertion techniques special populations : nursing2012

wooh, BSN, RN

1 Article; 4,383 Posts

Take a couple days off of trying. You're in a groove, and not the right kind. So don't even look at veins for a couple days. Then take the advice in the millions of threads here. But right now, you're going to just psych yourself out.

Specializes in ED/ICU/TELEMETRY/LTC. Has 20 years experience.

You might try my approach. (I'm pretty good)

1. Have everything ready, even the 2x2 and tape.

2. Sit down.

3. HANG THE ARM OFF THE BED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4. Clean the hand with alcohol pad, look and feel as you go. Identify where you might start.

5. Tourniquet or not

6. When you get flash, pause, then very gently advance catheter.

7. When you flush, flush gently with gently increasing pressure.

Good luck.


153 Posts

Specializes in Labor/Delivery, Pediatrics, Peds ER. Has 20 years experience.

Could have written this myself way back when. I think when I first started L&D I was lucky if I got one per week for the first 6 months or so - or at least that's what it felt like. I probably still couldn't use an Angiocath (don't know if they even make them any more as I haven't seen one since my first days on L&D.) We moved and the new hospital used Jelco's. So much better. Maybe it was just a mental block, or maybe it was the actual equipment. All I know is that with experience I became one of the ones called to the med-surg floors when there were problems starting IVs - and then I was the one hearing, "Oh, she's an expert - wish I was that good." :)


1 Article; 231 Posts

Specializes in ER.

See my below post


1 Article; 231 Posts

Specializes in ER.

Lessons from a "newer" ER nurse (that can sink an IV into a "20 year IVDA" more often than not...now)

1. The best veins, are the ones you can feel. Since you are beginning the perfection of the IV art, aim for those all the time. You say you can't feel them? Then learn how. Feel the obvious ones. Like those on a patient with the bulging veins that don't really even need a tourniquet....see the antecubital...then feel it before you stick it.

Sidebar: when feeling a vein, tap your finger across the surface of skin every so lightly and move your finger from side to side. Feel how the antecubital veins have a firmer feel then the surrounding skin. Do this on every stick you do, even if you don't think you can feel it at first...you will learn quickly to recognize the gentle bounce of a juicy vein begging to be stuck

2. I would suggest the antecubital vein every time (if available) until your confidence grows. These veins tend to be stable, they are anchored well, don't roll much or at all, and are sometimes (more often than not) large enough to be forgiven for being attacked by the wrong angle!

3. No AC?? okay, sometimes patients have bulging veins on their hands, despite the lack of the easy almighty AC. So this should be the next stop for the unconfident sticker. Move the the tourniquet down! Aim for the veins on the flat surface of a hand.....most anchored and stable. Remember to feel! always always feel...even if it is redundant to you. Hand veins tend to be trickier...even the bulging guys. Why? Because they aren't as long, as straight. So, choose the juiciest, longest, straightest vein possible. (even if it "splits" you can go through that as long as your path is relatively straight). The hand, as well as other non-AC locations tend to not be anchored as well. This basically means that when you go to puncture the vein, despite perfect positioning, you will end up with the IV about half and inch to the left of the vein after you pierce the skin with no way to correct, except pull out. So pull the skin tight first..this helps "anchor".

4. I could go on with tips about spearing the elusive upper arms veins, catching a deep vein that you can't palpate but see or even recommend how to get hold of the life saving "dummy" vein (you must first learn to palpate)...but you should master the basics first

Good Luck!

No veins scare me anymore, and soon they won't for you either

PS I left out more technical details of, what angle, how to poke etc, because I think it is hard to explain and you will learn your own way (like I did) in time

Maybe you need glasses, or a different prescription, I had trouble doing sticks because I never had a vision problem until my late 30's and 40s, so I would get stressed out when I couldnt do the needle stick, wish I had known that then, I could have been a great nurse...

Specializes in Hospice, ER. Has 10 years experience.

I'm pretty good at it - now. I was super bad at it when I started. The first patient I tried to start an IV on screamed and I ran out of the room (an RN was with me). Couldn't draw blood with a butterfly either. Fast forward 5 years and I usually get my sticks on the first try - most days. Other days I can't hit anything at all. It just takes time and practice and being patient with yourself.


2 Posts

It is experience I have been a paramedic for 6 years now, I start IV's while in a back of a moving ambulance doing 70 mph, sometimes in low light, or on someone who is in a cracked up car and it's pouring out. Keep at it, you can either do it or can't, but most of the time 98% of the time it just comes with experience. I am glad I have a lot of field experience as a paramedic i believe it will make me a better RN once I get accepted! Thats why I tell anyone who wants to be a nurse to be a paramedic first you learn sooooooo much- intubation, meds administration ( with no orders), IV's, chest decompressions, etc. Good luck you will get it eventually it takes time! Remember once you get a flash advance the needle a hair then the catheter.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

This is an acquired skill. Some will be great others will be average but it's a skill that only comes with experience. Check out this site for tips!!!

ENW: I.V. Starts ---Improving Your Odds!

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

4,482 Posts

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health. Has 25 years experience.

feel the vein and practice.

rkealy, BSN

45 Posts

Specializes in CCRN BSN Student FNP. Has 25 years experience.

Be the vein....