switching techniques

Specialties Emergency


Hope this is an okay forum to post this in.

I am not a nurse, but I do blood draws in my line of work, and I have always used butterfly needles, so I have always seen a flash when accessing the vein. (I used butterflies exclusively because I was drawing a primarily pediatric population).

I have a new position that will require me to draw adults, and I presume that straight needles are the preferred instrument for these routine blood draws.

I am afraid, however, that since I have come to rely on the flash to know I have accessed the vein, that I will not be good at drawing with straight needles since I won't know when I'm in.

can anyone offer tips/tricks or other advice to help me as I make this transition? I am very good at drawing with butterflies, but again, this is because I can see when I'm in.




133 Posts

Specializes in Emergency/Critical Care Transport.

In our facilitiy for blood draws we use butterfly needles even on adults, but if you're talkng about the stright needles that attach to the vacutainer hub I've found that you can feel the pop just like when you're starting an IV. If you need a flash, advance the needle under the skin, insert a tube into the hub and then advance until you feel the pop and see blood flow into the tube.

Hope that helps.


780 Posts

You need to learn how to use plain vaccutainers also, I love butterflies, but they can be a crutch. If someone has a decednt vein, use the vaccutainer. If you do not get it, just move it a bit andall od a suddon, the tube will fill. The only time you have to stick again is when you lose suction.

good luck


14 Posts

Thanks so much, guys. One question I have about engaging the tube before hitting the vein: I was taught when learning to draw that removing the needle with the tube in could collapse the vein due to the vacuum pressure. Are there similar dangers with having the tube engaged prior to piercing the vein? That would be my worry with engaging the tube before being safely in the vein.

Thanks again. :)


285 Posts

I don't know much about drawing blood, but I have very teeny tiny veins, so I love the butterfly needle. I'd say stick with it for patients with "difficult" veins adn try the vaccutainer with the larger needle for the adult poplulation with larger veins; I'm sure you will get used to it.


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