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The Process of Starting an IV (intravenous) Essay

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The Process of Starting an IV (intravenous)


Several skills are beneficial to the nurse and paramedic, but perhaps one of the most important skills is the ability to place an intravenous catheter into a vein. This procedure is most commonly referred to as “starting an IV”. In today’s medical community, intravenous cannulation is necessary for the administration of many antibiotics and other therapeutic drugs. Listed below are the procedures and guidelines for starting a successful IV. Following these instructions will provide a positive experience for the patient and clinician.

First, you must obtain all of the necessary supplies: gloves, alcohol or Betadine preps, a tourniquet, tape, an appropriately sized IV catheter, a bag of IV solution, the IV tubing, and gauze pads. While obtaining the supplies, you should inform the patient that IV catheter placement is necessary, and why. Do not lie to the patient and tell him or her that it is a painless procedure. Instead, be honest with them and explain that the initial puncture feels like a sharp pinch on the skin and that the pain and discomfort associated with the IV placement is only temporary. You may find it helpful to demonstrate to the patient the amount of pain to expect by pinching the skin on the back of their hand. This is especially helpful for younger patients or patients who are more concrete in their thinking.

Now, assemble and arrange all of the needed supplies so that they are easily accessible. Connect the IV tubing to the solution bag and allow the fluid in the bag to run through the entire length of the tubing, also known as priming the tubing. When this is done, clamp the tubing closed. You will then need to tear several pieces of tape, six to eight inche...


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...f the clamps on the tubing to allow the IV solution to run freely. Slowly, decrease the flow of the solution to the appropriate rate as ordered by the physician. Using a small gauze pad, wipe away any excess blood or fluid on the surface of the skin. Then, using the pre-torn pieces of tape, secure the catheter hub and the IV tubing to the patient’s skin. Take extra caution not to kink the tubing. Once everything is secured, recheck the IV solution’s flow and then attend to the rest of your patients needs.

Starting a successful IV takes practice, time, and patience. Once you have perfected this procedure, you will see that the above steps are simply guidelines to help beginners. As your experience grows, you will develop your own techniques and preferences. Remember these steps, and both you and your patient will have a successful IV catheter placement experience.


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