IV Slump


I just have to vent - I have been in a terrible IV slump since around Christmas! I'm normally pretty good at them, but I just can't seem to hit anything right now! When I do get them, they blow within the hour - sooooo frustrating! I don't need tips or anything, just had to get that off my chest. I need my confidence back! I need a 20 year old with no medical hx and nice, juicy veins, stat!!!!!! Thanks for letting me blow off steam! And if you happen to be a patient and see me coming with an IV tray...run! :bugeyes:


288 Posts

Has 10 years experience.

Have you ever been talking to someone, a friend or whatever, and you stop mid-sentence because you feel the need to palpate their veins? LOL. I do this all the time.

al7139, ASN, RN

1 Article; 618 Posts

Specializes in Emergency. Has 5 years experience.

I feel your pain!

I have been a nurse for almost 2 years, so I am still relatively new to IV starts. At first, I was really nervous to start any IV, even if it was a patient with veins popping out at me. The "hard sticks"? forget it! I would ask another nurse to do it or call the IV team without even trying first. As I got more experience, I gained more confidence, and am often the "Go-to nurse" for hard IV starts or blood draws now. Even still, there are days when I can't hit a vein even if it's popping out and hitting me over the head. I have found that often, I have a harder time getting a good stick when there is family in the room or if it is a patient that I don't have a "connection" with right from the start. I think it's all about confidence between you and your patient and their family, and if the connection is not there, I have a harder time. I know it may sound wierd, but for me, if I feel intimidated, I choke, and I worry what they are thinking if I can't get it on the first try.

Every nurse has their good and bad days for IV sticks, and I have gone through the same kind of slump you are going through now. All I can say is that yes it sucks, but once you get one, your confidence comes back, and I think that if you show confidence, your patient is more relaxed, making it easier to get the vein.

Recently we have had some last semester nursing students on the floor, who can attempt IV starts, which has also helped me, since for them I am the instructor and have to observe and help them through the task. Walking them through the procedure and helping find good veins has given me even more confidence. You will come out of your slump, but do not just give up...keep trying or it will never happen.



555 Posts

Specializes in cardiac. Has 5 years experience.

I think everyone goes through this at one time or another. I work on a cardiac intervention unit. We need to be able to get those things in no matter what. And sometimes, no matter how good those veins are, it just doesn't work out. There are times when 3 other nurses have tried on one pt with no success and I go in and hit it the first or second time. Then, there are the pt's with beautiful garden hose veins who I couldn't get an IV in if my life depended on it. It's odd and frustrating at times. So, I understand your situation.:smokin:


917 Posts

Is there a video where a nurse can watch on starting an IV? I mean for a person who haven started IV its hard to understand what threading and advancing means. I think i might be better by watching a person

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

142 Articles; 9,981 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 26 years experience.

Ohhh, I feel your pain, miko! FWIW, I think everybody goes through phases like this. There are the times when you're in what I call "The Zone", when you can't miss even with a 24-gauge on a severely dehydrated 90 YO........and then there are what seems like interminable stretches when you can't hit the broad side of a barn. Just remind yourself "I can do this", and look for opportunities to do as many IV starts as you can until you're back in The Zone.......pretty soon you'll be on top of your game again.


76 Posts

Specializes in cardiac. Has 10 years experience.

Ohhh I so feel for you...I've had the same problem since early January! Actually, I ended my bad luck streak a bit more than a week ago, but I was beginning to feel just awful and where normally I would look at an arm and think "no problem" and it really would be no problem, lately I'd find myself dreading the whole ordeal. I wouldn't say I'm the best ever but I generally can get at least a 22 in just about anyone. Not lately! One day I had to get someone else to start IVs on TWO of my patients. Bad-luck-streaks suck! Here's hoping yours ends soon. :)


977 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg, ER, OR.

Well I know we all have our poor days and great days. I know i am too new at all of this, but i have hit the slumps too. Sucks, but in time things do get better!


672 Posts

Well, I did manage to get a 20 into a ca pt without too much problem today, but I left not long after I did it, so I don't know if it held...I got it in one stick, too! Hopefully I'm back on the upswing now!!!! Thanks for the support - I knew you guys would understand!!!

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