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Catheter Insertion

Great tips for inserting a female catheter

Inserting an IV - Tips I wish I would have known my first time :P

Don't put your tourniquet on too tight. I've heard quite often from nurses that you want to have the tourniquet on very tight. You want it snug enough to occlude venous return, but you don't want to occlude arterial blood flow. If you occlude arterial flow, your veins won't puff up, because there will be nothing pushing blood into them!

Always assume that your vein will roll. A tip from one of the sites below is to pull the skin below (or above, if you're brave) the vein very tight. Tighter than you think you need. This will hold the vein in place, as well as help straighten it out.

The "official" MPC states that you want to insert the IV catheter needle at a 15-30 degree angle. This is not true for surface veins or people with small veins. It's insanely easy to transverse the entire vein with the needle, puncture the deep side of the vein, and cause the vein to blow, especially if you have your tourniquet on too tight! The pressure is just too much. I had instant success today with inserting at almost no angle at all. The thumb of the hand holding the catheter was touching the patient's arm before insertion. I could not get a smaller angle.

Remember that even the best nurses in the world fail sometimes. Don't get discouraged if you miss one, or two, or three! your first few times. Like everything else, it isn't as easy as it looks, and every patient has different anatomy. Read the tips below, and go into your next opportunity to start an IV with the confidence of someone who has successfully started a million IVs! Remember too that it is easy to fake confidence with a patient. They don't know your skill level. You need to fully believe internally that you can do it as well, because you can!

Article on "Improving your odds". Great tips!

Six Techniques to Nail the IV Every Time