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Your Best IV Tricks!

Has 13 years experience. Specializes in Education, Acute, Med/Surg, Tele, etc.

I just took on a job as an agency nurse, and well frankly...I haven't had to start an IV in well over 5 years! (all places I worked either didn't have IV therapy or had an IV team). I use to be quite good at it, but I am suffering from that "don't use it loose it" syndrome!

So let's hear some great tips on IV starts...here are some I remember...

One, don't go for the viens you can see as much as the ones you can feel! A vien that can be seen is close to the surface and is use to moving to touch.

Two, use hot packs before getting started.

Three...Listen to the patient, if they say they are a hard stick they are proably right. Also hearing their stories about previous IV starts can be diagnostic and also can avoid probelms.


DutchgirlRN, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience. Specializes in OB, M/S, HH, Medical Imaging RN.

Put a little NTG paste on the vein and it'll stand right up.

Use a BP cuff and pump it to right between systolic and diastolic for maxium veinus filling.

Never tell the patient "I'm just going to try" have a positive attitude.


Specializes in Pediatric ER.

1. unless you're going for an ac (or deep fa), keep your angle flat. you can always go a little deeper if it's too shallow, but if you're too deep and go through the vein, chances are you won't be able to make it work! (when i first started, this was my #1 mistake) :nono:

2. if you're starting one on a peds pt, keep in mind their skin is much easier to enter than an adults-think of it as gliding the needle in, rather than pushing.

3. for hands, have the patient relax the arm; for fa's, have them make a fist.

4. for some veins that roll, you can actually take your free hand and stabilize the vein by holding a finger on each side.

5. don't be afraid to have someone else look if you can't find anything.

6. for infants (generally

7. remember to breathe!!!

good luck:yelclap: :nurse:

Daytonite, BSN, RN

Has 40 years experience. Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

first of all, check out these web sites:

http://www.nursingcenter.com/prodev/ce_article.asp?tid=582125 - "on the road to successful i.v. starts", a ce offering from nursing 2005, may 2005. a beautiful article with explanations and good photographs of what the author is explaining.


"i.v. starts. . .improving your odds!" by tom trimble, rn cen appeared in emergency nursing world. a very nice article in a listed format of tips and tricks to inserting ivs.

then, there is a great deal of information at these various threads. i've posted to some:

https://allnurses.com/forums/f18/iv-tips-tricks-3793.html - "iv tips and tricks" in the er nurses forum.

https://allnurses.com/forums/f224/tips-iv-starts-130854.html?highlight=tourniquet - "tips for iv starts" in first year in nursing forum

https://allnurses.com/forums/f224/fearful-infiltrating-ivs-131738.html?highlight=tourniquet - "fearful of infiltrating iv's" in first year in nursing forum

https://allnurses.com/forums/f48/use-tourniquet-123298.html?highlight=tourniquet - "use of tourniquet" in renal/dialysis and urology nursing forum

https://allnurses.com/forums/f224/bad-sticker-needs-help-122091.html?highlight=tourniquet - "bad "sticker" needs help" in first year in nursing forum

https://allnurses.com/forums/f35/i-stink-ivs-121190.html?highlight=tourniquet - "i stink at iv's" in the ob-gyn nursing and midwifery nursing forum

https://allnurses.com/forums/f121/peripheral-ivs-116477.html?highlight=tourniquet - "peripheral iv's" in the graduate nurse forum

https://allnurses.com/forums/f8/iv-help-specific-questions-about-insertion-site-advancing-118999.html?highlight=tourniquet - "iv help: specific questions about insertion site and advancing" in the general nursing discussion forum

https://allnurses.com/forums/f35/speaking-ivs-need-help-long-story-longer-105178.html?highlight=tourniquet - "speaking of ivs. . .need help (long story longer)" in ob-gyn nursing and midwifery nursing forum

https://allnurses.com/forums/f8/any-tips-starting-ivs-91603.html?highlight=tourniquet - "any tips for starting ivs?" in the general nursing discussion forum

https://allnurses.com/forums/f18/i-am-moron-i-need-i-v-help-33992-2.html?highlight=tourniquet - "i am a moron--i need i.v. help" from the emergency nursing forum

there's lots more, too! i just got tired of searching.

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