Yeah, this post is about gloves. I’m going to revisit this…not wearing gloves when starting a peripheral IV.. Then there’s the extreme, when healthcare providers wear gloves for everything like taking your blood pressure and temperature!! (save this for another time)

We should all know about Universal Precautions, right? It has been around since 1983, and if you have no idea what it is, please go to our trusty friend, Google. Wear gloves when starting peripheral IVs – this is NOT optional. We all know we must wear gloves, but why are there still nurses who know they should and won’t? They have their “excuses” and it’s not due to lack of knowledge regarding the federal mandate, it’s not because they don’t have the equipment, and it’s not lack of training, it’s just plain old – I know I should but I just can’t.  [behavior modification is not easy]

I must state, that many of these nurses who absolutely refuse to wear gloves when starting peripheral IVs are very experienced nurses with combined nursing experience of over 65 years, yet no gloves when sticking the patient’s vein. The work setting of many of these nurses are not in acute care hospitals, so perhaps compliance monitoring by their employers is lacking or they are lucky they’ve not had an exposure incident. But one thing they are forgetting: the patients do notice what and how they perform procedures.

Some nurses do compromise – they wear gloves when starting a peripheral IV, but they cut off the glove over  the finger that is used to palpate the vein while the other hand inserts the IV catheter. We all know this, I don’t need to say it but a reminder, there is a potential for the finger to be exposed to blood and also increases the risk of getting stuck by the IV catheter. Yikes!


Fortunately, there are now peripheral IV devices that are “closed IV system” that combines needlestick protection with a virtually bloodless start, but even this doesn’t eliminate wearing gloves.

I prefer not to believe that the refusal by these experienced nurses to wear gloves has to do with their “ages”.  I would like to think this“fine wine gets better with age”. But  perhaps there is some truth to “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”

Whatever you do, do it well!! Good practice should prevail even with “aging”.


4 thoughts on “Gloves…

  1. I began nursing/venipuncture well before gloves became mandatory in Australia. When they became mandatory I was working with 5 ‘older’ nurses who took this change in practice very seriously- to this day they all wear gloves.
    Being a phlebotomy educator many new staff took to cutting the finger from their ‘feeling’ finger – despite being taught of the dangers.
    This practice is not one necessarily done by older nurses/phlebotomists/doctors.
    It is an old practice that younger staff chose to take on. Not all old staff do it!

    • I agree with this -> not all old staff do it – because I belong in that “old staff” category and I wear gloves. There was no question in my mind that I had to follow what was required. So you can understand why it is concerning the nurses I described did not make the practice “change” knowing it is mandatory and it is for their protection. They are still actively practicing nursing and providing direct patient care.

      The “cut glove finger” off was not meant to indicate “old staff” habit. It is however, perceived by many (older/midage/young) nurses as a compromise to meet the mandatory glove requirement.

      Thank you for reading the blog and for your comment.

      best regards,

    • There are those who feel more confident starting IV lines without gloves and can only successfully insert a peripheral IV without gloves. In my opinion, it is not an excuse not to wear gloves during the insertion. Practice makes perfect, the more they wear gloves during the insertion, the better they will be.

      Thank you for reading the post and for your comment.

      Best regards,

Comments are closed.