Should nurses be trained to use ultrasound for intravenous access to patients with difficult veins?
evidence and practice    

Should nurses be trained to use ultrasound for intravenous access to patients with difficult veins?

Claire Smith Registered nurse, Emergency department, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, England

Peripheral venous access is the most common invasive procedure performed on patients in the UK and is traditionally the responsibility of nursing staff. In an emergency, intravenous therapy can be lifesaving. Approximately 11% of adults have difficult venous access and are often subjected to repeated failed attempts, resulting in delayed diagnosis and treatment. Eventually, rescue methods are used by a doctor, but this increases demand on their time and the workflow of emergency departments.

This article explores whether training nurses to obtain venous access using ultrasound would have a positive effect on doctors’ workload and benefit adult patients with difficult veins. Research indicates that nurses can successfully use ultrasound to reduce the number of attempts, time to access and patient discomfort, and can prevent the insertion of unnecessary central lines. Ultrasound training programmes for nurses demonstrate benefits for patients and clinicians.

Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2018.e1733

Citation

Smith C (2018) Should nurses be trained to use ultrasound for intravenous access to patients with difficult veins? Emergency Nurse. doi:10.7748/en.2018.e1733

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double‑blind review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

claire.smith2@nbt.nhs.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Published online: 14 June 2018

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