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IV Tricks/Tips

Nurses   (432 Views | 6 Replies)

Knight2Nurse is a BSN and specializes in Outpatient Specialty Clinics.

472 Profile Views; 12 Posts

It has helped me to make use of the strategies I have learned from others over the years of doing it.

I would like to know what others have to offer from their own experience.

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JK123 specializes in Informatics/Med Surg/Psych.

16 Posts; 275 Profile Views

I'm not sure I understand what "has helped" you. Edit: Forgive me. I do understand now. My thinking is a little off this morning 🙂

As for starting an IV I like to be really organized. I take a flush, the IV start kit, and any other supplies that I may need for the order (Lab tubes, IV Antibiotics, IV pole, fluids, etc) with me into the room. I also think that it is more important that we can feel the vein than it is for us to be able to see the vein. If I can feel a really good vein that does not have a pulse I would stick it any day over a vein that I can see and it not be very palpable. Just my 2 cents. 🙂

Edited by JK123

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yournurse has 2 years experience.

128 Posts; 2,752 Profile Views

I  flatten out the skin on top of the vein... worked wonders for me. 

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"nursy" has 40 years experience as a RN and specializes in ICU, ER, Home Health, Corrections, School Nurse.

198 Posts; 810 Profile Views

Make sure the hand is lower than the heart to allow veins to fill up with blood.

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Emergent has 25 years experience.

7 Followers; 2 Articles; 2,869 Posts; 66,121 Profile Views

Advance the needle very, very slowly. After flash advance a mm more, then advance the cannula. 

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JK123 specializes in Informatics/Med Surg/Psych.

16 Posts; 275 Profile Views

11 hours ago, Emergent said:

Advance the needle very, very slowly. After flash advance a mm more, then advance the cannula. 

This is some great advice. When i was a new nurse there were a couple of instances where I had flashback and did not insert the needle more prior to advancing the cannula. The result was very disturbing as the cannula, when advanced, did not go into the vein but rather pushed the skin upwards. I asked a veteran was I was doing wrong and this is the advice she gave me. I thank God that this nurse was polite and not demeaning as some veterans can be. 🙂

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18 Posts; 121 Profile Views

-Let the arm hang down. I'll often lower the bed rail, raise the bed high, and let the arm hang over the side while I look.

-Use alcohol (or your wipe of choice) generously. Very generously. I will usually take 4-6 wipes and use 2 at a time while I look for a vein. The wetness of the skin not only makes the veins more obvious but also more palpable.

-Develop a personal ritual of sorts. I don't mean some voodoo mumbo jumbo, but a specific way you gather and prep supplies. If you ever watch basketball, you will probably notice that when a player shoots a free throw, they each have a different small ritual they do before shooting......a step pattern, rolling the ball in their hands, etc, that helps them focus and execute. Find yours. In my case, I gather the same supplies every time, then go in and find my work space and prep the same way every time, before I ever start intently looking for a vein. Then I have my favorite spots to stick that I always inspect first.

-That being said, start to casually look for veins as soon as you realize you are going to need to start an IV, and talk to the patient about it as you're prepping. Some frequent patients know their veins quite well.

-If you have options of various veins in different spots, then consider other factors like convenience for the patient (dominant vs. non-dominant arm, etc), and convenience for yourself and other nurses (places that don't cause as many occlusions, or the arm closer to the IV pole, etc).

-Learn to chat while you're working. This not only takes the patient's mind off what you're doing, but it also doesn't make you feel so closely watched by everyone in the room. But.......

-Get used to being watched by patients and whatever hoard of people might be in the room.

-Remember that a smaller needle doesn't necessarily mean an easier stick. Choose your needle size based on the vein itself, and whatever you might need the IV for of course.

-Finally, if you really want to get good at IVs, the most important thing is to just go do them every chance you get. In general, don't shy away from sticking at least once.

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