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Lost my IV skills


You know me, I was the one you called when you couldn't get a vein. These days though I can't seem to hit anything. What happened? It's not just a slump, I've been through those before and always came out. It really appears I've lost my touch. My question to you all: How do I get those great IV skills back? Have any of you lost something, and had to relearn? What did you do?

CT Pixie, BSN, RN

Has 10 years experience.

Although I am FAR from an expert (only recently licensed as an RN) maybe this will help you...what I realized was, once I missed a few IV sticks, after feeling I was actually 'getting it' after repeated successful attempts, is it really rattled my confidence. I went in feeling like I was going to miss. And it was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I had asked the same of a newer nurse (less than 2 years) who always got her sticks what I could do. She told me..get your confidence back BEFORE you walk in the room. If you think you'll miss, you probably will. She was my 'cheerleader' with my next IV attempt. Boosted my confidence, told me even if I did miss, I wasn't a failure and I'd get the next one.

You know what, I DID go in with confidence..and sadly, I did miss. But i didn't feel like a failure. The next one, I went in confident again, and got it first attempt. Really boosted my confidence. Got every one after that for a while, then missed..and missed again..but that time I didn't let it get to me. I'm back to getting them again.

This may seem silly to you since you are an experienced nurse, but i went to youtube and watched many videos on IV starts, picking up tricks on it. I watched several over and over. And another thing that really helped, when I was newer and not getting them and when i had gotten them and started missing again..I'd avoid doing them if at all possible. When i was in my 'funk' I asked the other nurses if they needed any started..figured the more I do the easier it will be. And it was. I still ask others if they need one started so that i can hone my skills. Maybe volunteer to start ivs for your coworker..you know what they say practice makes perfect.

I agree with the PP. When you are in a funk the best thing you can do is to keep at em! Ask your co workers if any of their patients need an IV start.....offer to do it if you hear about any opportunities. As quickly as you got into this funk is as quickly as you can get out. It will turn around with time. Be patient with yourself and take your time.


Specializes in Medical-Surgical/Float Pool/Stepdown. Has 6+ years experience.

Yep, just get back in the saddle again. I notice that when I get "stuck" on certain floors (I'm a floater) that my IV skills, mainly because of either lack of attempts or easier sticks, suffer...frustrating...very :yawn:


Specializes in Oncology.

Does your hospital have an IV Team that you can follow and watch?

At one place I worked they would let nurses go for a day or two to outpatient endoscopy because all of the patients there needed IV starts. Could you call their manager and inquire?