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