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Trying to get more experience. Help


Specializes in Long term care. Has 2 years experience.

So I am a brand new nurse. I got my license in December 2019 and began my first nursing job as an RN in a long term care facility in January 2020. I like my job, it was interesting in some respects and I felt fulfilled. I am moving across the country to be closer to family and I am obviously looking for a new job. I want to get some IV experience (my facility is now a hospice facility for COVID patients and we do not start IVs). Is there a way I can go about getting experience with IVs outside of my current employment? Volunteering somewhere? Classes I could take? My dream job is working in the ER. I am just lost with how to get more experience so that I may be more attractive to a future employer. Thanks for all your help. I'm new here.

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

I took a phlebotomy class (like for people who are getting their phlebotomy license) to get practice accessing veins. Drawing blood is not the same as IVs but it still helped. I watched tons of videos on Youtube and now there is a guy called theivguy I follow on instagram who also offers online classes. Nothing is better than getting actual practice though, which you will get a ton of in ER! Find someone who's good and ask to watch, ask for tips and ask to start IVs with them watching/guiding you. 😀

Katie82, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, PH, CM. Has 39 years experience.

I would definitely look for a job in an acute care setting when you move. Preferably in Med/Surg. Most hospitals offer extensive orientation programs to new grads, which you would be in their eyes with no acute care experience. Probably the best way to improve IV skills is to spend a day with the IV team, or another nurse who starts a lot of IVs. I followed a nurse in our ambulatory surgery floor, and learned so much. Do yourself a favor and don't go directly into ER, that is no place to "learn your skills", they don't always have time to train rookie nurses.

nrsang97, BSN, RN

Specializes in Neuro ICU and Med Surg. Has 20 years experience.

I also suggest finding a med surg floor for your next position before going to the ER. Find that person on the unit that is good at starting IV's (not all places have an IV team), and go with then and watcht them start IV's and even have them watch you the first few times you try. Always try, this is the only way you will get good at IV starts.

If your new facility doesn't have an IV team ask to spend the day in pre op and do all the IV starts. It will give you a lot of practice.


Has 36 years experience.

All good advice. Many nursing schools do not teach IV skills. Hospitals don't expect, or require, new grads or newish nurses like you, to have this skill.

Youtube is a great resource.


Specializes in retired LTC.

Call your facility's supplier Pharmacy!!! Those pharmacy companies freq have a dedicated IV dept who hold reg IV courses. Usually the courses are allocated a few seats for each NH they service for IV stuff. They might get you in or refer you somewhere else.

You get to practice on that rubber arm - better than nothing. Worth a try.

Those phlebotomy courses are great but who will pay for it? They're usually NOT inexpensive. And many might plan the clinical practice in a real clinical area. Nice for the practice, but in these C19 times, I doubt you'll find it being done anymore. Also they may choose to allow students to practice on each other.

Thinking about it, finding any type of congregate class instruction may be impossible for the time being.

speedynurse, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ER, Pre-Op, PACU.

Honestly, most ERs I worked in (with the exception of the free standing EDs) do hire new grads as well as of course experienced nurses. However, the new grads are generally hired after ER experience as a nurse extern/ER tech/paramedic. I do think the ER is a massive undertaking without acute care experience. I went straight into the ER as a new grad but had worked with my team for several years already as a paramedic which made things so much easier.

Why don’t you try a med surg floor or even a telemetry or step down floor? That will get your foot in the door, get much more experience with IVs and even some IV drips, then move onto the ER in a year or two.


Specializes in retired LTC.

speedynurse - only problem is that SOME facilities have IV teams who do all the sticks. Except on the odd shifts - then sometimes a float IV certified nurse can do the sticks. Having worked much of my career on odd shifts, I was always IV certified - more sticks than I could even fathom a guess about. Even in the NHs I worked.

Getting the official 'cert' class out of the way and then being on a shift where one can get mucho practice is the only way to become proficient.

But a class with practice might be problematic for OP right now.

Wishing OP luck.

mmc51264, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes. Has 9 years experience.

We have an IV team. I am not sure why starting an IV is a goal. I have not put one in since nursing school. Unless I would have to do it every day, I don't mind not doing it. The population that I work with are older and can have really tough veins. We have a team that uses ultrasound.