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Archive April 2019 XX, No. 4

IV Tips & Tricks: Don't Let the Little Pinch Become a Big Ouch

Simple strategies to start IVs right the first time - every time.

Mike Morsch

Mike Morsch, Associate Editor


Pamela Bevelhymer, RN, BSN, CNOR
AVOID THE OWIE Take steps to make your IV starts as painless as possible for the patient.

An IV start should be a little pinch, not a big ouch, a minor procedure, not a major ordeal. Patients dread surgery's necessary evil — and your nurses might, too. Here are expert tips to get it right on the first try to avoid having to stick the patient multiple times.

1Put patients at ease

Your first attempt at the IV start may very well be your best chance of success. Once you miss a vein, the odds diminish with each subsequent attempt. Make patients comfortable before proceeding with the IV, says Denise Gallagher, RN, BSN, a retired nurse with more than 10 years' experience on IV teams throughout her career.

Laying patients down allows them to settle in and relaxes them and can make for better blood flow to the vein. By consistently using this position, you get used to the same angle of holding and inserting your catheter, says Ms. Gallagher.

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