Priming IV drips

Specialties NICU


I'm a new NICU nurse and need some help with the proper way to set up an IV drip. Specifically, how to prime your tubing when setting up a new drip that has other fluids (or just an IV chaser) going through it. I've managed babies on drips, but have never been the one to hang new fluids/start new drips. We usually have a y-site with the small medication tubing connected. So let's say you are hanging a new bag of fluid and have a syringe for your drip. The drip will be running at a very slow rate. What is the proper way to prime your tubing so that the med reaches the baby quickly when you connect your new tubing, but they are not bolused?

Specializes in NICU.

When we're changing out a whole line setup that involves drips, we assemble the new setup on a new group of pumps and start everything running for at least an hour or so; that way, when the line is connected to the baby, what's at the connecting point is the right ratio of various fluids/meds.

Always check with your unit's policies and experienced nurses, though.

Has anyone here ever missed the vein? I have a huge phobia of that happening.

Unfortunately my hospital doesn't have the resources to be able to set up a separate group of pumps, and there isn't a written policy. How do those of you who also don't have extra pumps do it?

Specializes in NICU, PICU, educator.

We prime all our lines, hook them together and go. We don't have the pumps to do that either and we haven't had a problem. Example: We will prime the main IVF thru, then hang the primed drip tubings to the trifurcated connector and purge the end it goes to. There is enough in mixing that it doesn't cause a problem.

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