Category Archives: Nursing blogs

What do you think…

Q:  We have a 24/7  vascular access team, yet we find that an ultrasound machine  in a medical floor is used for PIV insertion by untrained nurses and residents. The machine is there for other purposes but is being used for hard IV sticks.

A:  There is increasing evidence to show the use of ultrasound or vein finding technology increase success rates particularly in patients with difficult veins to access. The INS standards recommend the nurse to consider using visualization technologies that aid in vein identification and selection (S33). The use of  ultrasound allow the identification of peripheral vessels and guide the insertion procedure.  There are reports that ultrasound guided peripheral IV cannulation is successful more than 90% of cases. In addition, it improves patient satisfaction and safety with fewer sticks.

I think anyone who reads this post will agree that healthcare providers using these technology must be properly trained and/or competency checked off. Just because there is an ultrasound machine available on a medical unit doesn’t entitle anyone to use it without proper training. The operator should be very familiar with the ultrasound machine, the type of transducers used, how to improve ultrasound gain and how to control its outcome. The operator should be especially knowledgeable of the sonographic artefacts that can mislead him/her.

In addition, your facility/institution/organization should have policies and procedures related to the training. competencies and use of ultrasound technology. Check out what your policy is and hope you have one. In some, the use of utlrasound for PIV insertion is limited to vascular access teams and the ED. In your case, with a 24/7 vascular access team, the medical floor should take advantage of your service and expertise.

Thanks for your question. I wish you the best.

References:

  1. Infusion Nurses Society 2011 Standards of Practice.
  2.  Abu-Zidan Fikri M Point-of-care ultrasound in critically ill patients: Where do we stand?J Emerg Trauma Shock. 2012 Jan-Mar; 5(1): 70–71.
  3. Elia F, Ferrari G, et al Standard-length catheters vs long catheters inultrasound-guided peripheral vein cannulation. American Journal of Emergency Medicine (2012) 30, 712–716

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Large Volume IV Solution Shortages

It just doesn’t seem right that the national crisis with “drug shortages” would include  large volume (1000mL) IV solutions we commonly administer to our patients:

  • 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection
  • 0.45% Sodium Chloride Injection
  • Lactated Ringer’s Injection
  • 5% Dextrose Injection

 

IV

But the reality is there is a shortage, IV saline solution, in particular is on the list of national drug shortages and the shortage is not expected to resolve until May or June this year. Not having IV Saline solution available  is like not have bread and milk at the grocery stores.

So what can be done?  The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) released a list of conservation strategies that organizations might consider to manage the shortage.  Click here to view details of the document.

 

What can clinicians do to conserve?

  • Use oral hydration whenever possible.
  • Review the suggested clinical approaches and product conservation strategies in collaboration with the organization’s stakeholders and the Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Committee or other organization-wide medication policy group for applicability to the organization.
  • Implement an organization-specific action plan to conserve IV fluids where possible. Allow flexibility as the shortage status of specific products may change frequently. For example, Lactated Ringer’s
  • Injection may be more available than 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection and vice-versa depending product availability and allocation schedules.
  • Develop medical staff-approved policies for substitution of IV solutions based on product availability within the organization. Example: an organization might allow substitution of Lactated Ringer’s Injection for 0.9% Sodium Chloride Injection or vice-versa depending on what is in stock. Table 1 provides a comparison of common intravenous fluid components.

 

Please feel free to share what you /your organization are doing to cope with this IV Solution Shortage.

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Vesicants and Extravasation

These two terms defined by the Infusion Nurses Society means:

Vesicant – an agent capable of causing blistering, tissue sloughing or necrosis when it escapes from the intended vascular pathway into surrounding tissue.

Extravasation – the inadvertent infiltration of vesicant solution or medication into surrounding tissue.

There are several chemotherapeutic agents with vesicant properties, and when inadvertently infused into the surrounding tissue from an infiltrated IV, these agents may have the potential to cause blisters, severe tissue injury or necrosis, known as extravasation. The damage to the tissue can occur from direct contact with the vesicant medication, from compression of surrounding tissues by a large volume of fluid or from severe vasoconstriction.

But chemo agents are not the only vesicants that cause extravasation injuries. There are non-chemo medications and solutions that have vesicant properties as well and can cause extravasation. Listed below are a few non-chemo agents:

  • Vancomycin
  • Nafcillin
  • Calcium Chloride
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Calcium Gluconate
  • Dobutamine
  • Diazepam
  • Dopamine
  • Norepinephrine (Levophed)
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Promethazine (Phernergan)
  • Propofol
  • Vasopressin
  • Radiologic contrast agents

As nurses, it is our responsibility to take preventive measures, monitor, identify signs/symptoms and institute prompt treatment per policy or as ordered. If you administer any of these agents, prevention is key and consider the following:

1. Location, location, location:  When selecting an IV site, avoid areas of flexion  – this includes the wrist, hand, and antecubital fossa.  Be mindful of any punctures to veins above the area you are about to stick. If patient had a recent blood draw from the antecubital fossa, use the opposite arm to find a suitable site.  Oh, btw, extravasation can also happen in patients with central venous access.

2. Bigger is not better: Use the smallest gauge IV catheter to administer the prescribed therapy.  Good flow rates are possible even with a small gauge catheter. Using an IV catheter too large for the vein will obstruct blood flow and might cause thrombosis distal to the IV site.

3. Know your medications: Were you surprised to see a medication listed above as a vesicant?  Medications and solutions with an osmolarity greater than 600 mosmol/L  and pH lower than 5 or higher than 9 should not be infused via a peripheral IV. Know the adverse events, if any for each medication. If in doubt, always ask our friendly pharmacists!!

4. Secure your IV device: Use a stabilization device to anchor and avoid movement of the catheter. When using a dressing, avoid obscuring the IV site to allow you to observe the site.

5. Check  IV patency and assess site: Key to early recognition of complications. Refer to your organization’s policy on frequency of IV site checks.  Infusion pumps will not tell you if an IV site in infiltrating. Always aspirate for positive blood return prior to use, but remember, checking for blood return or back flow of blood is good for patency but not a reliable method for assessing infiltration at IV site. If infusion continues to run when you apply digital pressure 3 inches above peripheral IV site in front of catheter tip – suspect infiltration

6. Policy/procedure for extravasation: Do you know if your organization has one for non-chemo agents? Have you even read it? What are you expected to do when extravasation happens?  Is there a rating scale to document the severity of the problem? Are you expected to complete an “incident report”? Can you photograph the site?

7. Hot or cold: Which do you use? What does your policy state about compress? Do you need an doctor’s order for this?

8. Antidote: Is there one for the medication you administered? Obtain physician’s orders for the appropriate antidote. How is it given?

9. Document, document, document!! I know, you’ve heard this before….if it’s not documented, you didn’t do it! Keep this in mind, you will not remember what happened in the past, so hopefully, your documentation can defend you.

10. Don’t forget the patient/family: Keep them informed and provide information regarding treatment and management.

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Filed under Certified Nurses, Continuing nursing education, Cora Vizcarra, CRNI, Extravasation, In office infusions, Infiltration, Infusion Nurse Chat, Infusion Nursing, Infusion Nursing Standards of Practice, Infusion Therapy Resources and References, InfusionNurse, IV, IV Securement Device, IV start, IVchat, Medical bloggers, Medication Administration, Medication Safety, Nursing, Nursing blogs, Patient Safety, VA-BC, Vancomycin, Venipuncture

SPC Insertion Guide Card Deck

There is a great resource available to nurses and other healthcare providers. It is the SPC insertion guide card deck. The Short Peripheral Catheter (SPC) Insertion Card Deck provides step-by-step instruction for successful venipuncture in children and adults. The deck highlights proper site selection, insertion techniques, as well as care and maintenance methods. It also includes recommendations for identifying common complications such as phlebitis, infiltration, and extravasation. Key information is presented in concise, bulleted points, and is augmented by useful figures.

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The laminated 5” x 8” cards (4 cards, 8 sides) are joined with a plastic ring that allows for use in any practice setting. Readily portable, the cards can be carried in a lab coat pocket or attached to a medication cart for easy reference at the point of care.
These card decks are available for purchase at the INS website – click here.
Disclosures:

1. SPC Insertion Card Deck: Copyright Infusion Nurses Society used with permission from the Infusion Nurses Society

2. I served as the chairperson of the IV Safety Task Force Committee who developed the position paper and the above insertion card deck. This was a volunteer committee and did not involve any compensation.

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Short Peripheral Catheter Checklist

This great resource in available free to download to INS members from the INS website – SPC  Checklist. SPC means short peripheral catheter, which man y of us call “peripheral IV catheter” or “PIV”. This checklist was part of the IV Safety Task Force position paper project on Recommendations for Improving Safety Practices for Short Peripheral Catheters.

SPC Checklist

Modeled after the CDC checklist for Prevention of Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infections, the SPC Checklist covers assessment, monitoring, removal, and safety strategies.  The checklist is designed to help your efforts in implementing evidence based best practices in SPC insertion, care and maintenance as well as promote IV safety practices.

Download you free copy now, go to www.ins1.org

Disclosures:

1. SPC Checklist: Copyright Infusion Nurses Society used with permission from the Infusion Nurses Society

2. I served as the chairperson of the IV Safety Task Force Committee who developed the position paper and the above checklist. This was a volunteer committee and was not compensated for this project.

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Think Safety, Insert Safely

In June of 2013, I was honored to chair a national task force for the Infusion Nurses Society’s (INS) project on Short Peripheral Catheter Safety (SPC).  Along with five other colleagues, we embarked on a task  to identify the safety and practice issues and  look at ways to promote safety in the insertion and management of short peripheral catheters for all patient populations as well as for the clinician.

Yes, we are concerned with short peripheral catheters or as many clinicians call it “PIV” insertion and maintenance. That simple and common procedure routinely performed by nurses and other clinicians often accompanied by the prevailing thought that simple and routine = complication free.  Unfortunately, many nurses/clinicians underestimate the risks involved in PIV insertion, care, and maintenance until they are faced with infusion-therapy related complications and litigation.

Back in June 2013, I posted an blog entry looking for RNs inserting peripheral IV’s to take a short survey.  I was so thrilled that many  of my blog readers and nursing colleagues have taken the survey. Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey. The survey results were used in the development of  the position paper. This position paper entitled “Recommendations for Improving Safety Practices with Short Peripheral Catheters” is now available on the INS website. (Click here)

On Feb. 4, 2014 on behalf of  INS, I will be presenting a live webinar “Recommendations for Improving Safety Practices With Short Peripheral Catheters” that will discuss the findings of the task force and the statement of INS’ position.  Due to unprecedented demand, the webinar is sold out. But thanks to the support by an educational grant from BD Medical, INS members will be able to view the archived presentation free of charge in the INS Knowledge Center later next week.

When it comes to short peripheral catheters, we encourage nurses/clinicians to…Think safety, Insert safely!

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Celebrate IV Nurse Day – January 25, 2014

In 1980, the professional practice of infusion nursing was formally recognized when the United States House of Representatives declared  each January 25 as IV Nurse Day. This recognition was the beginning of what the infusion specialty has become. Specialization marks the advancement of nursing practice. It signifies that nursing has moved from a global approach to a focus on defined areas within the practice that require specialized knowledge and skills.

On this day of celebration,  I would like to wish each infusion nurse Happy IV Nurse Day. Whatever you do and wherever you are, on this special day, take the time to celebrate the numerous accomplishments that make us proud to be infusion nurses.

IVnurseday1

Photo from Life.Time.com

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Hello 2014!!

We’re 10 days into 2014, is it still the New Year? Oh well, there’s still time to say hello to 2014!

I can’t move forward without looking back to 2013. It was a great and challenging year not only for this blog but for healthcare in general.  In 2013, this blog turned four years old and I was very happy to have passed another milestone. Through this blog, I have met so many wonderful individuals,  learned so much from them, and very grateful for their friendship.Honestly, there have been times when I didn’t have time to write a new post and yet, my blog visitors continues to increase. I am very thankful to all of you; very grateful to many who have been regular readers, and appreciate those who have left comments.  I am truly humbled and appreciate your support.  It is my hope that this blog will continue to provide you with valuable information regarding infusion nursing, vascular access and infusion therapy.

So what did you read in 2013? Here are the top ten most read blog posts.

1. “Is there a difference? Osmolarity vs. Osmolality” – These terms have always been confusing. In infusion therapy, particularly with Fluids and Electrolytes and IV solutions, these two terms certainly have  important roles and understanding each term will be helpful to us.

2. “Calculating and counting drops”  - do you still remember how to calculate and regulate IV drip by gravity? If you have forgotten, read this blog.

3.  “The Phlebitis Scale does mean something..” – A blog about the two phlebitis scales nurses can use to assess the degree and severity of phlebitis.

4. “Infusion by Gravity Drip” - my blog on calculating IV rates for gravity drip..do you remember how?

5. “Just say No”…previously was the top read post but now has dropped to fifth place. This is about  avoiding the antecubital fossa when starting IV’s.

6. “Nurse…my IV hurts!!” – a blog about a legal case when a patient complaint about their IV site was ignored.

7. “Nurses + Artificial Nails = Bacteria” – my blog about artificial nails and the potential danger for our patients.

8. ” Bevel up or Bevel Down” – how do you insert PIV catheters?

9. “My IV Infiltrated” – a blog about infiltration and how to prevent this common complication.

10. “Vesicants: not just chemo agents” - read about non-chemo medications and solutions that have vesicant properties as well and can cause extravasation.

new-year-2014-wallpaper-free-download

Happy New Year to all!!! May 2014 bring lots of luck, happiness, joy, wealth, good health, and more blog posts!! Cheers!!

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7 days till Christmas…

A few year ago, I posted a blog wondering what it would be like if Santa was one of my infusion patients.  Well, Santa didnt become my patient but I thought, just like a holiday ornament, I’d take it out of the box, dust it off and share it with all of you again. So here it is…

If  SANTA CLAUS was an infusion patient…  

1. It would be very difficult to get accurate patient information. Imagine this..

Nurse: Please tell me your name?

Patient: “St. Nicholas” but you call me“Santa Claus“. I am also called Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, and many other different names depending on the language. “HO! HO! HO!”

Nurse: Hmm, ok, …now I will need your date of birth.

Patient: “HO! HO! HO!”…

…but according to the patient’s companion, an “elf” .. “He is over 1700 years old! He was born about 270 AD in Asia Minor (Turkey).

Nurse: Ok,…next question, where do you live?

Patient: “Why, the North Pole, my dear.” Don’t you remember writing to me when you were 4 yrs old? Ho! Ho! Ho!!

Nurse: Hmm..occupation?

Patient: “I bring presents to good boys and girls on Christmas Eve”. HO, HO, HO!!

2. I would jot down a few key observations about him…

  • Overweight, jolly male in red velour suit with white trim, wearing a red hat, white gloves, and black boots.
  • Full white facial beard with flushed cheeks and wears reading glasses
  • Patient accompanied by many elves and his wife, Mrs. Jessica Claus
  • Patient came to town in a sleigh pulled by 9 reindeers, one reindeer had a shiny nose.
  • No food allergies, loves cookies and milk.
  • Pets at home includes penguins and seals…
  • Drinks eggnog, bourbon or scotch occasionally after work with the elves
  • Patient has an annoying habit of saying “HO, HO, HO”!!!
  • Patient’s wife reports ” hypertension” only between Thanksgiving and Christmas eve.

3. Don’t worry boys and girls – Santa is not ill.  Doctors have encouraged Santa to loose weight, otherwise, he has no significant illness. After Christmas eve and his incredible journey around the world, carrying those heavy bags full of toys for good boys and girls, Santa experiences “dehydration” and perhaps some electrolyte imbalance. Mrs. Claus just want to make sure he gets some IV fluids before he goes to work!!!

4. I can’t imagine starting a PIV on Santa…that would be like starting an IV on your favorite celebrity or rock star!!! I’d be so starstruck, be afraid I might miss or blow his veins and end up on the “naughty” list!!

HO! HO! HO!….Happy Holidays to all!!

101222-santa-scale-vmed-4p.grid-4x2

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

There’s so much to be thankful for and here at Infusion Nurse Blog, I would like to  thank each of you for reading and supporting this blog. I hope I have provided you with good, relevant and practical information you can use in your daily practice. Thank you to each of you for your comments and posts. I am very grateful and hope for your continued support.

Wishing each of you a safe and bountiful Thanksgiving…

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All the best,

Cora

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