Venipuncture is the procedure of opening a vein for the process of medication / fluid administration or drawing blood.

Procedures for venipuncture vary, but are basic in nature.

1) Take universal precaution to isolate yourself from any body fluids.

2) Prepare equipment; you will need at a minimum, catheter, syringe, I.V. administration set or vacutainers for blood draws.

3) Probe site with most sensitive finger for the vein you wish to use.

4) Clean site with isopropyl alcohol using circular inside out motion. (Once cleaned, do not re-probe - you will have to clean again)

5) Place needle at 15 degree angle to skin, in one smooth motion, advance needle into vein.

6) Secure site and perform function.
NOTE: Consult health care providor, or supervisor before performing this procedure. This procedure should only be performed by a licensed health care providor.

Pacer includes most of the steps necessary for venipuncture, however, there are a few tips that although not required, will make the venipuncture a smoother experience.

  • Before probing (palpating) for veins, set a tourniquet above the target area. Contrary to popular belief, the tourniquet does not need to be super tight. If it is too tight, it will block off both arteries and veins, when all we really want to do is block venous return. In subjects with friable or very fragile veins, a tourniquet is not recommended.
  • Before actually sticking the patient, use your other hand to pull the skin in front of the target vein taut. This makes it easier for the needle to penetrate the skin, as well as making the vein less likely to roll.
  • If using a tourniquet, release it before removing the needle unless you like blood sprays.
  • I know Pacer mentioned this, but I'd like to emphasize it: Feel (palpate) for the vein. Don't rely on looks.

Another thing about venipuncture is that it is considered a procedure apart from anything else you do in the vein. For example, if you have blood drawn for labwork, you will be charged for the venipuncture as well as for each lab test.

The most common (legal) reasons for venipunctures are:
1) Lab tests (outpatient and inpatient)
2) Inserting intravenous catheters, commonly known as I.V.'s

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