Poll Results: Gloves vs no gloves during vein palpation

The poll results are in:

1.  Do you think an RN should wear gloves when palpating for veins prior to venipuncture?
Yes:  47 Votes    42%
No:  65 Votes     58%

112 readers took the poll, and 58% said they think an RN should not wear gloves when palpating veins prior to venipuncture. 47% said they think an RN should wear gloves prior to venipuncture.

Vein  palpation is one of the best methods for assessing veins and it is best done by feeling the vein using your sense of touch via your fingers. Using the tip of your index finger, palpate the vein by gently pressing down on the vein and the feel the vein bounce back to your finger tip. Always feel the vein you are about to puncture – don’t just rely on visualization of the vein. Palpation allows you to assess the characteristics of the vein, the depth, firmness, volume, and size. The use of gloves during palpation may not allow you to feel the veins sufficient enough to obtain a good vein assessment especially in the older adult patient. Here are some comments posted on this poll question:

  • gotta have some alcohol rub on hand for hygiene prior to donning glove, otherwise, the trip to the sink for a wash will make the whole vein hunt, well, not so useful.
  • Circumstances will vary. Follow Standard/Contact Precautions as indicated. Gloves precannulation, if not otherwise required, is optional. Depending on years of experience one may want to palpate first w/o and then with gloves so they are comfortable w/chosen site once gloves have been donned for the cannulation. I’m a 26 year RN. Still believe in that skin to skin contact. It’s about common sense and good hand washing. When I started we didn’t have gloves and threw needles in the garbage!
  •  I check for several veins, then release tourniquet get everything ready… and then re tighten, check again that it is the best… don gloves and site cleanse and cannulate
  • I voted no, but then it occurred to me that if gloves aren’t worn prior to cannulation, they may not be put on at all….
  • Before site care: no gloves. After site care: use gloves.
  • I would have liked to see the question stated different. How many people palpate the vein after they have completed site care? If there are no open areas it is fine to palpate with a bare hand prior to site care but nothing annoys me more than those who will palpate the vein after preparing the site:(
  • Of course! But i nvr do (shhh lol) so much easier to find a vein w out esp on the elderly

2. Do you wear gloves during vein palpation?

  • Only when there is a skin break:   49 Votes   49%
  • Always:                                                     32 Votes   32%
  • Never:                                                        18 Votes   18%
  • Only when I remember:                        1 Votes     1%

100 readers responded to this question. 49% said they wear gloves only when there is a skin break. 32% said they always wear gloves during vein palpation. 18% said they never wear gloves during vein palpation, 1% said they wear gloves during vein palpation only when they remember. One comment was posted

When assessing for vein site, it is recommended to avoid areas of flexion or areas where the skin is not intact. If an area with a skin break is selected for venipuncture, it does make sense to wear gloves, although I would question if it is indeed a good idea to put an IV in that area. Sometimes, the skin break is caused by a previous unsuccessful venipuncture. If this is the case, it is recommended to go to the opposite arm or use the area above and a distance away the previous site attempt . One comment was posted on this poll question:

  • There are times when I can only palpate a vein and not visualize it. In cases like this, if I miss the vein on the first entry, I have to palpate the site again to find where the vein is, but before I apply the transparent dressing, I will clean the area again (allowing the skin to dry). I will always avoid palpating over the site of needle entry.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in this poll survey, your response is greatly appreciated. Always remember, it’s not enough that you “see” a vein, “touch” it to make sure it’s a good enough vein that you can puncture!

3 thoughts on “Poll Results: Gloves vs no gloves during vein palpation

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  2. I wear gloves 100% of the time. I’m old school and learned to palpate with bare fingers, However, I had an extended learning curve to learn palpation wearing gloves (with the assist of landmarks.)

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