Now what?

Starting an IV on a small child is extremely
difficult. In the two months I have been an intern, I have successfully started
several IV’s on school-age children, but none on an infant. A few days ago I
had the opportunity to try again. Nervously I gathered all of my supplies. My
preceptor (a nurse I had never worked with before) was right there holding down
the baby’s opposite arm and ready to take over if/when I was unable to get
blood. Holding the baby’s hand tightly with my left hand, I poked her right
hand with the needle. Nothing. I advanced it slowly and to my surprise, saw a
flashback of blood. With my tongue sticking slightly out to the side (it
somehow helps), I advanced the catheter into her vein. Success! I removed the
needle and applied pressure to occlude the vein (to prevent blood from spilling
out of the un-clamped IV port). Although I was holding her arm, the baby was
still able to squirm, and the IV catheter started coming out. Quickly I held it
in place with my right hand. I stood there confused, my left hand occluding and
holding the arm in place, my right hand holding the catheter. I needed another
hand! Embarrassed, I looked at my preceptor and had to say, "I’ve never
made it this far, I don’t know what to do now!"  
Lesson of the day: Some skills are a lot like a choreographed dance. Memorize each step of the dance before the actual performance!

15 thoughts on “Now what?

  1. YEEEAAAAAA!!!!! Sticking babies is one of the hardest skills…and I\’m very good at it..I\’m so proud of you!!!! You\’ll get the hang of all the other stuff.. like you say, it\’s a dance, and you\’re getting sooooo good at it!!! Congrats!! I always said it\’s like trying to thread a piece on uncooked spaghetti up a cooked piece in a bowl of jello during an earthquake!! That really is kind of what it\’s like!! lol You did great!

  2. Good for you Katie!! I witnessed 4 RN\’s holding down a 1 year old the other day while someone from the lab was attempting the IV because all of the RN\’s had been unsuccessful!  Poor kid!  Anyways you should be proud! 

  3. God, I can only imagine how hard this is. You should be so proud of yourself!
    p.s. Thanks for commenting at my site! I can\’t for the life of my to get my family and close friends to leave comments, so maybe when they see yours they\’ll be inspired. 🙂

  4. Oooooh, I think I\’m done with the needle stories…  *feeling faint*  I just had my three-hour glucose test and my blood was drawn four times…  uuuuugggggghhhhhhhh

  5. I remember how excited I was to get my first IV in on a baby! Enough so that I forgot to untie the torniquet. You guessed it – I blew the vein, and had to start over again. Like most mechanical things, the more you do, the easier it gets. Be well,

  6. Hi Katie, you are doing great! I stop in often to see what\’s new, but since there is no pressing date with Potter & Perry (right now) thought I\’d visit and say hello! Things are going great in class, we\’re doing the clinicals now….wow, this overwhelming I feel totally clueless feeling comes in waves..Unfortunately the wrong wave comes at the wrong time. Sounds like your job is very interesting and I\’m glad you like it. Take care Katie RN,BSN! Thanks for putting the pharmacology lists up, that will be next semester.  I can\’t believe this semester is half over already…..that was quick. 

  7. Hi Katie,
    I am hooked on your site.  I always thought I was alone in the way that I felt about nursing school but you have the same feelings.  I am glad that you are doing a wonderful job.  Your site give wonderful inspiration. Keep it up

  8. I really hope that you "give yerself a pat on the back" for all the work yer doing. No ones perfect and sounds to me like your doing a great job overall, This goes for the previous blog entry as well. Crisis work is just that, doesn\’t mean yer wonder woman and you won\’t have those moments of utter panic inside, as long as yer in control on the outside, ya know? of course you do…………..Happy Halloween, and hugs,  Kat

  9. Once again, I have to post and tell you how much I love your blog!  It helps remind me that going to school is actually worth it, especially after those really hard days of classes.  Hope all is well in TX!  GO JAYHAWKS!

  10. Like I have always said in that predicament,"It would be nice to have another arm, but then all of my shirts wouldn\’t fit"…..Guess you has to be there…..oh you were………………..Nurse Bill

  11. Way to go! We are in hospital clinicals now and I hold my breath that I will find that vein when given the oppurtunity!! YIPES!!  I did get to get a baby\’s vitals..he played with my student stethescope, later I find out he had a big ol Staph infection going on.  I am working on my 2nd cold in 3 months.  The stress of it all and the lack of sleep.  Nursing School is crazy.  Katie does it slow down?  The pressures of the brutal instructors!!! (see my blog – read about the accusations of me cheating)..ugh.

  12. I LOVE this blog! I just started my first job as an RN in a small ICU, and when trying to mentally prepare myself for the “big day”, I was reviewing my skills…and I honestly compared it to a dance! I thought the exact same thing – I can memorize a dance. So I should be able to memorize these skills the same way ahead of time! Alas, my well-rehearsed dance still had obstacles (standing over a patients head trying to stick the IV was not a part of this dance!)…I said to the nurse in the room with me that if my hands would just do the moves exactly how I wanted them to, I’d have STELLAR skills 🙂

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