Today is Halloween and while it’s my favorite “unofficial” holiday, I am wimp when it comes to scary movies and I don’t care for people’s costumes with blood, guts, and gore. No, not because I’m scared but as a nurse, I’ve seen my fair share. But as an infusion nurse, I love seeing blood!!
Ok, I’m weird. But seeing blood gives me the feeling of success as I watch the blood tubes fill up when I am drawing blood samples from a patient’s antecubital fossa. When I aspirate for blood return from central venous catheters (CVC), it gives me the feeling of victory, knowing that the CVC is properly functioning and ready to use. When I am challenged to insert a 24g peripheral IV catheter in a tiny, invisible vein of a dehydrated infant, I jump for joy as I watch anxiously for the blood return and pray that blood continues to backflow as I advance the catheter into the vein.
Oh yes, it doesn’t take much to make an infusion nurse happy. BUT in the world of infusion therapy, bloody may also indicate a serious problem.
- Seeing blood at the peripheral IV site and/or CVC insertion/exit site can mean complications. Redness or blood at the site may indicate infiltration, phlebitis or infection.
- Seeing a patient turn RED during an infusion is not a good thing -it may a sign of an infusion reaction. Stop whatever is infusing and manage the patient accordingly.
Bloody can also be harmful as blood an contain pathogens that can be transmitted and cause diseases. We all know we should observe standard precautions when there’s going to be exposure to blood in any patient care activities such as starting IV’s and maintaining CVADS. There are many products that help decrease this exposure such as safety catheters that prevent exposure to blood and of course, wearing gloves.
Bloody or not – Happy Halloween, be safe and enjoy!