Written by Erin Dixon, MTC Nursing Student and Student Ambassador
Being a nursing student means there are always tasks that you may be thrown into that you might not feel as comfortable doing. Let me tell you, I have definitely experienced this, many times! This past week I was sent on my IV insertion rotation. Before this time, I had only successfully started IV’s on arms with no bodies that had red water running through them. So with that said, you can imagine the amount of nerves I was experiencing. I got to my location at 6a.m. which is of course any college students dream tie of being up and about. I made sure to eat a good breakfast that morning because I for sure did not want to be that nursing student that was passed out on the floor after one attempt at an insertion. I was nervously reading over my IV insertion paper from lab, giving step by step directions, probably a number of 300 times before I finally got onto the floor. All I could picture in my head was me trying to cover up my nerves and then going at the patient with a 22gauge needle with hands shaking liberally. Needless to say, I was experiencing many emotions that morning.
So, I first get to watch the nurse I am following insert an IV for a patient. She of course gets the insert first try without any problems and does it so quick that if you would have blinked, you would have missed it. This is the ideal IV insertion for any patient! Next, it is my turn. I gather all of my supplies; my IV start kit, gloves, the needle, and a few extra gauze pads just in case it took a turn for the worst and I had a little blood leakage. I washed my hands while giving myself a pep talk in my mind consisting of “you can do this, you may have only started an IV on a fake human arm with water in its fake veins, but how different can a real arm be with real blood?!” I get up to the bed and get all of my supplies set up and rip my pieces of tape. I pick the vein I want to use and what do you think the patient says, “Why don’t you use the one next to it? It looks much better”. I tell the patient that I feel comfortable with the vein I chose and I clean the site. Waiting for it to dry, I applied my gloves and picked up my needle. I uncapped the needle and went for it. I get the needle into the vein and I see a small flashback of blood. Just as I advanced the catheter, the vein blew and began to swell. I removed my needle and catheter combo and grabbed my gauze pads to apply pressure. As I am sitting there in what seems like my walk of shame, the pt. looks at me and smiles and says “see, told you that you should have used the vein beside it!”. In my embarrassment, I laughed thinking “and now I must explain to him that I, the nursing student, am going to try and stick him again.” Time for round two and I have all of my supplies ready. I prep the patient and applied my gloves. Again, I went for the insertion and what do you know the small flashback of blood. At this point in time, I may have been praying for a successful insertion to just about any spiritual being who would hear me. Yet again, I blew the vein. Two more nurses’ had to try before we got this poor mans’ IV inserted, but later on I got four IV insertions successful out of six patients. I would say not too shabby for my first experience. Of course, I am looking to practice some more on IV insertion, any volunteers? I think this goes to show a little bit of nerves makes for a successful student. I took my nerves and rolled them into dedication. Bring on the next new experience!