Category Archives: Nursing blogs

Positively bloody!

….as in  positive blood return when aspirating from central venous catheters (CVC).  Positive blood return means a free flowing blood return easily obtained on aspiration, and the color of whole blood. In other words, bloody RED, not pink-tinged. What a great feeling, knowing that the CVC is properly functioning and ready to use.Syringe_with_blood

NOT able to obtain a blood return from CVCs?  This might  indicate a problem.

  • If the tip of the CVC is in the lower thirds of the superior vena cava at the junction of the SVC and RA, then you should get a blood return. If you can’t get a positive blood return, do not use and assess the cause.
  • It is not an expectation for patients to do arm and shoulder movements or what most nurses refer to as “central line aerobics” while you aspirate for a blood return.
  • If unable to obtain a positive blood return, then there is a problem with the central line. Assess for possible drug precipitate, fibrin sheath, thrombus formation at tip of catheter, and mechanical problems such pinch-off syndrome, malpositioning of catheter tip, or catheter dislocation.

What if you call the physician and report the problem (inability to obtain blood return) and you are told to go ahead and use the CVC for infusion anyway. Should you?

Keep this in mind… Assessing for blood return is one of the key indications of a properly functioning CVC and  without a blood return, the use of the CVC can put the patient at risk of serious complications. 

A bloody reminder on Oct 31 – Happy Halloween to all!!!  Blood---Pumpkin---Grimace



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Filed under Certified Nurses, Cora Vizcarra, Halloween, Infusion Nurse Chat, Infusion Nursing, InfusionNurse, IV, IVchat, Medical bloggers, Nursing, Nursing blogs

What? Seriously?

I’ve had conversations with several RN colleagues that left me saying, are you serious? I hesitated writing about this but I thought I’d share so we can all learn and avoid doing the same.

1. Whatever happened to those “multi-use” syringes? That’s crazy that I can’t reuse syringes when I’m just drawing up medication for injections and not using it on patients. 

  • Ok, I know what you’re thinking but this conversation came up during our discussion of the “One and Only Campaign” on safe injection practices. ONE NEEDLE, ONE SYRINGE, ONE TIME! If you are not familiar with this campaign. please click here  and read about it.
  • This RN looked at me like I had 10 heads.  I pointed to the icon on the syringe label. Have you looked at your syringe labels lately?


  • Bottom line: Unless you are using glass syringes, which should be cleaned and sterilized after each use, before the next use, there is no such thing as “multi-use” syringe! The syringes in the US are disposable and as the label indicates, do not reuse! ONE NEEDLE, ONE SYRINGE, ONE TIME!
  • In case you are wondering, when is a syringe considered used? Check this post out – click here

2. An RN preparing to give a weight based medication to a patient states: I don’t weigh the patient each time they come, only in the beginning of their treatment. Why should I weigh them again, they can tell me if their weight has changed.

  • What? seriously? I’m sure all of you reading this are shaking your heads much like I did. So tell me, is this a case of lack of knowledge or just plain laziness? You be the judge.
  • Bottom line: one vital piece of patient-specific information, the patient weight, is especially important because it is often used to calculate the appropriate dose of a medication (e.g., mg/kg, mcg/kg, mg/m2). A prescribed medication dose can differ significantly from the appropriate dose as a result of missing or inaccurate patient weights.

3. An RN started a PIV without gloves. RN stated, I have never worn gloves when starting IV’s and I am very careful not to touch blood.

  • This scenario happening in 2014?? How long has it been since Blood borne pathogen and Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act became a federal law? It was the year 2000 and came into effect in 2001.
  • When asked why the RN wasn’t using gloves, the response was, never have and never will. (oy!)
  • Employer was made aware and stated, yeah, we know. Sad but true, they don’t seem to be concerned.
  • Bottom line: The law applies to all employers who have an employee(s) with occupational exposure (i.e., reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of the employee’s duties). These employers must implement the requirements set forth in the standard.

It was heart breaking to have these conversations with my nursing colleagues who are actively practicing nursing and providing patient care. Why are there nurses who think and act this way when there are standards of practice  and federal mandates that give us guidance? We have a responsibility to follow best practice/standards of practice to protect ourselves, the public and the patients we serve.  It’s always a convenient excuse to say that one didn’t know such standards or law exist. Let’s not forget, a person who is unaware of a law ( or in some cases, standards of practice)  may not escape liability for violating that law  merely because he or she was unaware of its content.


Filed under CDC Guidelines, Certified Nurses, Infection Control and Prevention, Infusion Nurse Chat, Infusion Nursing, Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, InfusionNurse, IV, IVchat, Nursing, Nursing blogs

NIOSH 2014 List of Antineoplastic & Other Hazardous Drugs in Healthcare Settings

This is an updated version of  the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) hazardous drugs list. So what’s new in this current update?

The text for the update to the 2014 list was updated and expanded to reflect the complexity of safe handling issues that have arisen over the past few years.  This was driven, in part, by the growing number of oral antineoplastic drugs and the addition of oral non-antineoplastic drugs.  The list was reformatted and some drugs have been deleted.

(a) Based on feedback from multiple sources, it was determined that the universal approach as described in the 2004 Alert on Hazardous Drugs for handling hazardous drugs was no longer feasible.

 (b) The list of hazardous drugs was separated into three categories: (Table 1) Antineoplastic drugs; (Table 2) Non-antineoplastic drugs; (Table 3) Drugs with adverse reproductive effects only; and (Table 4) Deleted drugs.

  (c)  It was noted that the majority of the antineoplastic drugs may have adverse reproductive effects and the drugs in the non-antineoplastic category that had adverse reproductive effects as a secondary reason for their listing was noted.

  (d) New drug listings for 2014 are indicated by red font and drugs in the non-antineoplastic category that also have adverse reproductive effects are indicated by blue font.

 (e) Also added is a matrix of common activities related to hazardous drug handling and recommendations for the use of personal protective equipment and ventilated engineering controls for each activity (Table 5).


Hazardous drugs include those used for cancer chemotherapy, antiviral drugs, hormones, some bioengineered drugs, and other miscellaneous drugs.  The NIOSH cautions that the list may not be all inclusive and recommend that each organization should create its own list of drugs considered to be hazardous. This perhaps explains why sometimes I notice a drug not on the hazardous list is considered hazardous by one organization but not by another.  In my experience, many oncology infusion centers follow the precautions recommended for hazardous drugs for all drugs they administer regardless of classification in a effort to standardize handling practices.

When a  drug is hazardous, various precautions should be applied when handling the drug.  Click here for the full publication of the 2014 NIOSH Hazardous Drug List.

NIOSH 2014


Many thanks to Barbara MacKenzie and Thomas H. Connor for the  information and updates.

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Filed under CDC Guidelines, Continuing nursing education, CRNI, Infusion Nurse Chat, Infusion Nursing, Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, Infusion Therapy Resources and References, InfusionNurse, IV, IV start, Medical bloggers, Medication Administration, Medication Safety, Monoclonal Antibodies, Nursing, Nursing blogs, Patient Education, Patient Safety, Physician's offices, VA-BC

Yearly Tribute 9/11

We will always remember…..September 11, 2001.

It was a day no one would ever forget. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing at the time. I remember feeling lucky that although I was at an airport, I was not on an airplane.

We will always be grateful to the courageous firefighters, rescuers and first responders who risked their lives to save those in the rumbles of this dreadful day.

We will always remember those who died from this tragedy, whose memories we celebrate today.

But as we remember those who are no longer with us in this world, let us not forget those who survived or were left behind…those whose lives were forever changed..those who will always be guilty that they survived.



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Filed under Cora Vizcarra, Infusion Nursing, InfusionNurse, Nursing blogs

FIVE Year Blog Anniversary Gift

To celebrate the “FIVE” year blog anniversary and to thank you for your continued support, I am giving away “FIVE” free registrations to  a web seminar on September 18, 2014 entitled:  A Closer Look at Peripheral IVs

Intravenous therapy via a peripheral IV (PIV) catheter is one of the common IV procedures performed by nurses in hospitals and other healthcare settings, including long-term care, outpatient, and home care.  PIVs are used for medication administration and/or infusion of IV solutions.  Because PIV placement is such a common and simple nursing procedure, nurses may underestimate the risks and the consequences of complications such as phlebitis, infiltration/extravasation, infection, and nerve damage.  In this presentation, the importance of appropriate PIV site selection, techniques to reduce complications, and the importance of monitoring the PIV site will be addressed.

Here’s how to participate:

1. You must reside in the United States and available to attend on Sept 18, 2014 1-2pm ET

2. Send a comment to this post.  The comments must be in response to this particular post in order to be considered an entry. Comments (entry) must include your first and last name, a valid email address, and  the phrase – “Fabulous 5 giveaway”

3. This free offer is valid only for the webinar on Sept 18, 2014. Offer does not apply to any other events.

4. Five entries will be selected. You will be notified by email if you’re one of the five winners. No substitution will be allowed.

5. Offer ends on September 12, 2014 12noon ET.






Filed under CRNI, Infusion Nurse Chat, Infusion Nursing, Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, InfusionNurse, IV, IV start, IVchat, Medical bloggers, Nursing, Nursing blogs

Thank you for taking the survey

My sincerest thanks to everyone who took the survey on the “Use of Unlicensed Healthcare Personnel in the provision of infusion therapy” posted on Aug 8, 2014. You were very gracious in responding and we sincerely appreciate your feedback. The survey is now closed and we will share the results when ready.

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Filed under Infusion Nurse Chat, Infusion Nursing, IVchat, Nursing, Nursing blogs, Patient Safety

Looking for RNs to take a SURVEY!

If you are a registered nurse currently working with/delegating/supervising “unlicensed healthcare personnel” (UHCP) also known as “unlicensed assistive personnel” (UAP), would you be interested in answering a short survey related to the use of unlicensed healthcare personnel in the provision of infusion therapy?

The survey is open to US registered nurses from all healthcare settings who work with, delegate/and/or supervise UHCP. The survey results will be integrated in a project for the Infusion Nurses Society.


(Click sign ^^ above to take the survey)

If you have any questions, please use the comment section of this post. Your comment will reach me first and will not be posted publicly. I will reply as soon as possible.

Thank you so much! Your help and willingness is greatly appreciated!



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Filed under Certified Nurses, CRNI, Infusion Nurse Chat, Infusion Nursing, Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, Infusion Therapy Resources and References, InfusionNurse, IV, IV start, IVchat, Medical bloggers, Medication Administration, Medication Errors, Medication Safety, Nursing blogs, Patient Safety, Physician's offices, State Board Of Nursing, VA-BC, Venipuncture