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What do you do when your nurses are properly trained, but you still want to improve their IV skills? You look to find any way to add to the existing knowledge.
By looking to gain that edge, Katharina Loock, RN, of the Wadley Regional Medical Center’s department of education, in Texarkana, TX, was able to compile a list of the top 10 IV tips and tricks.
"Our patients expressed that they were not that happy with our IV skills," says Loock. "We realized it was more perception than anything else, but the nurses started looking at how that could be changed. The nurses wanted to improve their own skills."
Loock started by consulting with nearly a dozen IV professionals in her area. Then she approached nursing groups and posed the same question, asking for any types of tips. "I received about 50 answers from a very varied group," she says. "There were IV nurses, nurse anesthetists, ICU nurses and nurse educators."
In the end, Loock says there are no secrets to providing quality care. While there are some tricks of the trade, proper training as the bottom line seems to prevail. "It all came down to the same things," she explains. "There really aren’t that many tricks. It comes down to having really good technique and really good anatomical knowledge."
Here’s the list Loock compiled from other professionals:
10. For well-filled but fragile veins, try puncturing without using a tourniquet.
9. For low blood pressure, use a BP cuff, not a tourniquet.
8. For no veins, some people swear by double tourniquets. Use one high on the arm and a second four inches above the puncture site.
7. For bad filling, some people swear by "milking the vein" — gently stroking from distal to proximal.
6. For no veins, apply warm towels for several minutes.
5. For no veins, let the arm hang down for awhile, then use the "praying position" for venipuncture.
4. Apply a tourniquet six to eight inches above the selected puncture site.
3. Think purpose, appropriate access, appropriate catheter size, and appropriate site.
2. Take your time performing the venipuncture.
1. Take your time when choosing the right vein.