Monday, August 20, 2012

Look! Listen! and Feel!

Medical personnel automatically think of CPR when it comes to the saying Look! Listen! & Feel!

However, they should also think about Infusion therapy as well.
So many times nursing staff attempt to perform an IV catheter on a patient and without fail they do not succeed on the first time.  Why does this happen?
Many times the nurse looks for the vein and fails to listen to the patient and fails to feel for the vein. 
It is very important to not attempt an IV Catheter on the first look.  Every patient has a vein; however, sometimes those veins may be hard, they may take a curve, or even stop short of what they appear to be at first glance.  Learning your patients anatomy can help save their veins and help you as a medical professional become more successful in your infusion therapy skill.


When looking for a vein on your patient; try and look for the most straight vein. Do not just stick the first vein you see.  Look at every vein first and try and pick the best vein possible that will make it easy for you and the patient.  Patients are afraid of pain most of the time and if you listen to them as well they will show you the best veins they have as well as share their horrible past experiences. 


Listen to your patients before you stick them with a needle.  They can tell you where they typically get stuck and which is the best vein for them and for you.  Most of the time they will remember the previous person who either drew their blood or stuck them for an IV catheter and they can recall whether it was a good or bad experience.  This is important because it may be a key factor in you preventing anxiety.  Increased anxiety can cause the patient to have vaso-constriction which in turn will make it more difficult for you to start and IV on that particular patient. 



The last thing the healthcare worker should do before attempting to insert an IV catheter is to Feel. 
Feeling for the veins is the single most important issue and step one can take in order to be successful.  How does the vein feel?  Hard, soft?  Does it take a quick turn? Is it long enough?  measure your catheter in comparison to the vein; do you need to take an indirect approach versus and direct approach? 

So remember; when performing IV Therapy it is a skill that can improve with practice and technique.  Do not take you patient and their veins for granted as this may be you one day in the bed getting poke multiple times by a nurse who failed to