Venepuncture/Phlebotomy and IV cannulation is a procedure often performed by nurses working in the Emergency Department.

Venepuncture and IV cannulation is an advanced clinical skill. It is the ability to establish IV access and to withdraw blood for laboratory analysis.

Establishing vascular access or the taking of blood for investigation and diagnosis, is considered a clinical priority and crucial for IV fluid administration and medication administration.

While the insertion of an IV cannula maybe necessary, this procedure is considered invasive and carries risks to a patient’s well-being. You will not be permitted to participate in venepuncture or IV cannulation.

It is useful, however, to have a good understanding of best practice standards surrounding venepuncture and management of a peripheral IV cannula. This knowledge will enhance your ability to recognise potential complications and to communicate the situation to your mentor.

Resources to guide best practice are within this module.

Venepuncture and IV cannulation
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How To Draw Blood Like A Pro: Step-By-Step Guide
Phlebotomy, the practice of drawing blood from a vein, is a proficiency that all nurses should learn in their career. While not commonly taught in nursing school, programs recommend nursing students take extra courses to hone this skill.

How to Draw Blood from Hard to Hit Veins
Drawing blood quickly and cleanly is an important skill for doctors, nurses, lab personnel, or phlebotomists. Many venipunctures are routine, but you may occasionally encounter some difficult veins.

Peripheral Venous Cannulation
Techniques to increase chance of successful cannulation

Taking blood cultures is a relatively common OSCE station. You’ll be expected to demonstrate your clinical skills and ability to communicate effectively.

Knowing which blood bottles to use for different tests may not be that important for passing your finals, but will be absolutely essential when you start work on the wards afterwards.

This cannulation OSCE guide provides a clear step by step approach to cannulation, with an included video demonstration.

Ahlin, C., Klang-Söderkvist, B., Johansson, E., Björkholm, M., & Löfmark, A. (2017). Assessing nursing students’ knowledge and skills in performing venepuncture and inserting peripheral venous catheters. Nurse Education in Practice, 23, 8-14. doi:10.1016/j.nepr.2017.01.003

Asrar, M., Al-Habaibeh, A., Shakmak, B., & Shaw, S. J. (2018). A device for improving the visual clarity and dimension of veins. British Journal of Nursing, 27(19), S26-S36. doi:10.12968/bjon.2018.27.19.S26

Decker, K., Ireland, S., O’Sullivan, L., Boucher, S., Kite, L., Rhodes, D., & Mitra, B. (2016). Peripheral intravenous catheter insertion in the Emergency Department. Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal, 19(3), 138-142. doi:10.1016/j.aenj.2015.12.003

Foulkes, D. (2018). Needles and Nerves. Midwifery Matters(157), 8-9.

Gabriel, J. (2017). Understanding the challenges to vascular access in an ageing population. British Journal of Nursing, 26(14), S15-S23. doi:10.12968/bjon.2017.26.14.S15

Petersen, E. R. B., & Nybo, M. (2018). Hygiene of venepuncture tourniquets in Denmark. Scandinavian Journal of Clinical & Laboratory Investigation, 78(5), 417-420. doi:10.1080/00365513.2018.1480799

Shaw, S. J. (2017). Locating difficult veins for venepuncture and cannulation. Nursing Standard, 31(25), 62-71. doi:10.7748/ns.2017.e10778

Shaw, S. J. (2018). How to undertake venepuncture to obtain venous blood samples. Nursing Standard, 32(29), 41-47. doi:10.7748/ns.2018.e10531

Skarparis, K., & Ford, C. (2018). Venepuncture in adults. British Journal of Nursing, 27(22), 1312-1315. doi:10.12968/bjon.2018.27.22.1312