Q&A: BP cuff for vein distention

Q: I am a new RN and was always told that I can use a BP cuff to distend the veins for IV starts instead of a tourniquet. Can you tell me how high should I pump the cuff? A:  BP cuff is one method that can be used for vein distention while assessing veins…

Why do nurses use the same alcohol swab over and over?

I know, this may come as a surprise to all of you, but the truth is, I have seen many nurses (even those highly trained and specialized) both in hospitals and outpatient settings, use the same alcohol swab over and over. Imagine this scenario where a nurse is ready to withdraw medication from several vials.…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…