The infamous IV tray that used to be on every medical floor at the hospital has now been replaced with the convenient IV start kits. Everything that is needed is in this one sterile pack and can be easily obtained when needed. The use of the IV start kit saves on time and contains all the necessary supplies to start the IV. All that has to be done, is to grab the kit and an IV catheter and you are ready to go to the patient’s room.
The start kit includes these components:
- 1 pair of latex free exam gloves.
- 1 alcohol prep pad
- 1 latex free tourniquet
- 2 2 x 2″ gauze sponges
- 1 roll tape
- 1 transparent dressing 2-3/8″ by 2″
- 1 PVP pad
- 1 dressing change label
These kits are convenient and cost effective. They come 50/case. The nurses start the majority of the IV’s, so the nurses and IV’s seem to go hand in hand. When starting an IV, know the anatomy of the patient and don’t go rooting around looking for that magical vein. Remember that the ventral side of the forearm is sometimes the best place to look. Initially, do a survey, but don’t go in blindly.
Because you don’t see a vein does not mean there is not one there. Practice is the best way to sharpen your skills. When palpating for a vein, close your eyes and feel. If you have a patient that has really good veins, close your eyes and palpate. This will help you to learn how a vein feels by touch and when you have a patient that does not have good veins, it will be easier for you to feel their veins.
The vein you choose should feel round, firm, and engorged. Sometimes veins feel and look suitable, but when an IV catheter is inserted, they have irregular or narrow lumens. The advancement of the IV cannula will be difficult in this situation. Because of the fact that the arteries are deeper than the veins, they are rarely damaged when starting peripheral IV’s.
Always follow the protocol of the facility when starting the IV. The IV Start kit will save time in gathering the necessary equipment and will also let the patient know that you are prepared. This gives them more confidence in the IV therapy process. It is not the end of the world, if you miss an IV, nobody gets them all. Tell the patient you are sorry and go get someone to start the IV for the patient. Most hospitals have a policy that no more than 2 IV sticks are made and then the physician is called.