So when I started at the Kaiser Bellflower Infusion Center I thought I was a fair IV start. It turns out when you are starting 10+ IV’s a day, the truth comes out. And the truth was, I was sub par. A novice. A beginner. But, hey, you have to start somewhere right? I’ve been told when your at the bottom the only way to go is up, but it has been a stressful journey for both me and my patients. However, I’m a little farther up the mountain that I was a couple weeks ago.
I don’t really love this topic, because it points out a flaw in me. I am human. Contrary to what I had hoped to believe I am not Super Nurse, here to get every IV every time with expert ease. But I am writing it to be a comfort to you novice nurses and maybe even some experts out there who have been having a bad run with IV starts.
So In the nearly three weeks I have been here, there have been a lot of misses with IV starts on my part. A lot of wincing faces from my patients. And a whole lot of frustration on my part. But here’s the things, I am learning and improving. And so will you, you just need the opportunity to practice, learn some tips and tricks, and have confidence.
I believe there are three factors to a successful IV start; your skill, your confidence, and your patient. It is undeniable that in order to start an IV you must have IV skills. Some people are naturally great, others take a little bit more practice. Either way, your skill is something you can develop over time, so take heart and be willing to learn! For me the game changer in starting IV’s was when I was reading online about some tips to start a successful IV. I was always taught as soon as you get blood return to advance the needle a little bit, then take only the needle out a little bit while advancing the catheter. It turns out, this is a pretty horrible method for me. My saving grace was when I learned that as soon as you get blood return to advance the needle just a touch, then NEVER move the needle again until the catheter is fully advanced. It works like a charm.
The second factor is your confidence. I have seen the juiciest veins, but as soon as I start to doubt myself I will miss. And at times your confidence goes hand in hand with your patient because as soon as they say; Have you done this before? How many years of experience do you have? Are you a good poke? He’s a very hard stick! Or just family members breathing down your neck, it is very intimidating and your confidence runs away faster than the gingerbread man. So patient’s, please just let us do our job without any remarks about our past IV skills. Also, patient’s please let your nurse try just 1 time before you go asking us to hunt down your very favorite nurse. I am always glad to go on the search for your favorite nurse, but it is disheartening-and who knows, I could be just as good!
I may not be Super Nurse, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have super nurse powers! Do you have any IV tips or tricks that could benefit The Joyful Nurse community? Feel free to comment below!
Hope this post doesn’t blow (Oh how I love nursing puns),