Nurses are required to learn how to administer IV therapy as it is an important part of patient care. Though IV insertion may scare most student nurses and professionals alike, the right information and experience may help alleviate this fright.
To ensure a smooth flow of IV therapy, the nurse must prepare the patient for the procedure. Nurses can follow these tips but check first with your institution’s policy for compliance.
- Inform the patient or the family about the procedure to ease tension. Tell them what it is for and try to create a friendly ambiance to help them relax.
- Make sure that the patient is comfortable. Check if the patient is not nervous and is warm enough so as to avoid vasoconstriction.
- Be confident. Nurses should look and feel confident in front of the patient when doing the IV therapy. This will also make the patient less worried about the procedure.
- Use distraction techniques if the patient is a child. Nurses can involve play, colorful books and other skills appropriate to the child’s age to divert their attention.
- Use warm moist towel or blanket to cover the insertion site. By doing so, the veins will surface which makes the insertion easier for nurses.
- Make the patient hang his/her arm low. Let it be as low as possible so gravity will aid in venous filling. Nurses can either kneel or sit to ensure steady insertion of IV line.
- Use the non-dominant side when starting IV. This is perfect for the patient’s benefit. Nurses may turn to the veins on the dominant side only when all else fails.
- Use an alcohol swipe when disinfecting the site. Nurses should do this according to the direction of the venous flow to increase vein filling.
- Do not use an alcohol-coated needle for IV insertion. It will become painful for the patient if the nurse will do this. Instead, let the alcohol dry first so no discomfort will be felt.
- Use blood pressure cuff instead of tourniquets for elderly patients. It will help nurses visualize veins clearly, instead of ending up with fragile veins that blows easily.
If the nurse fails on the first try, explain to the patient in a comforting and friendly manner why it happened.