Inserting an IV can be one of the most stressful things you will do as a health care professional. Not only can finding a vein be nearly impossible, but many patients bring their bad experiences into the examination room with them, which can further complicate the task of inserting an IV.
If you want to put your patients at ease and ensure that you are avoiding sloppy IV insertions, here are 2 mistakes you should try to avoid.
1. Don't blame the patient when you can't find a vein.
Some veins can be buried deep below the skin. Others roll around when you try to insert a needle, and still more veins dance like a hula girl whenever you get near them. Regardless of how difficult it might be to locate a suitable vein, you should never blame your difficulties on the patient.
Instead of pointing the finger at your patient, take the time to make difficult veins more pliable. This can be done by having the patient perform a few jumping jacks to get their veins to "pop." You can also try wrapping your patients' arms and hands in a moist towel that has been microwaved for about 15 to 30 seconds to help loosen up difficult veins.
When you don't place the blame on the patient when you have trouble hitting a vein, you help to increase your credibility as a health care professional.
2. Don't recontaminate the injection site after cleaning.
Even though the wound created from injecting an IV is small, the risk of infection is still a constant threat. Too many health care professionals overlook the importance of keeping the injection site clean, and recontaminate this site after it has been swabbed in preparation for the IV injection.
Feeling around with a gloved hand to locate a suitable vein is normal, but once the vein has been located and the area swabbed, you shouldn't touch the injection site again. You may be tempted to feel around for the vein again, just to be sure of its location, but this could allow any bacteria present on your gloved fingers to migrate into your patient's body through the IV injection site.
When you avoid recontaminating the IV injection site once you have swabbed it clean, you reduce the risk of the wound becoming infected in the future.
Proper IV injection doesn't have to be difficult. Avoiding common mistakes like blaming the patient for a failed injection attempt, or recontaminating the injection site after cleaning will go a long way toward helping you become a more reliable health care professional in the future.