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5 things NOT to say to the person starting your IV

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If I had a quarter for every time I heard any of these, I could retire!!

1. “I want the doctor to do it.” I promise you, you do not. They probably started one in medical school and it was most likely a disaster.

2. “I have rolling veins.” Everyone does. That is what traction is for.

3. “Don’t go there, it will hurt.” Newsflash. It is a needle. It will hurt. If you tell me where to put your IV I will probably miss. The jury is out on whether or not I will miss on purpose.

4. “Are you any good at this?” Like I would tell you ‘no.’

5. “I have terrible veins.” People who say this usually have a big fat juicy vein right in the antecubital space.

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    Rebekah Child

    Rebekah Child attended the University of Southern California for her bachelor's in nursing and decided to brave the academic waters and return for her master's in nursing education, graduating in 2003 from Mount St. Mary's. Rebekah has also taught nursing clinical and theory at numerous Southern California nursing schools and has been an emergency nurse since 2002. She is currently one of the clinical educators for an emergency department in Southern California and a student (again!) in the doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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    16 Responses to 5 things NOT to say to the person starting your IV

    1. Tabbi

      Hahaha, I had to laugh at this one. I’m a nursing student, and there’s only two things a nurse needs to know if I happen to need an IV: my veins like to disappear and the greatest chance of success is with the big fat vein on my right arm near the elbow or the veins in my hand.

    2. Lizzy

      Oh how true all those statememts are! Got to love those silly patients that want the md to do an iv, lol, oh that just would be fun to watch

    3. Emmythesquirrel

      Hahaha! Number 4, I have replied ‘No’ to a particularly disagreeable patient. And to one really fun and well known to me patient I replied “I don’t know, I’ve never tried this before”.

    4. I Always listen to the patient that tells me which arm is better- people usually know & makes my job easier…. Most of the time;) it is true, though…. People r Funny- they Definately want a nurse to start their iv!

      • Joan

        On taking care of a continual bell ringer, I have learned that answering the call,be nice, listen to complaints and take care of them. A few extra minutes with a person’s routine makes them happy. Most important it makes your day a lot happier. They are not ringing all day for little things like move an over the bed table. So a few minutes listening with a little TLC keeps your day more free to be answering an emergency light call. On veins for myself boy I have been accused of being some type of alien and having too many valves. I usually do not tell them I was an LPN, RN. It is good to make sure the one you are taking blood from is hydrated if not NPO. Believe me it is better listening to the patient first. I had a large bore needle hanging out of my arm. The tech yelling at me I can not leave it like that, there is something wrong with your veins. Large needle because of dye. I said just use a small needle if I get an allergic reaction, they will probably find a good vein real quick. Some of us are good at finding the vein right away if you do it daily. A trick taught to me by an anethesiologist, if you need to start an IVwith a good size needle before surgery and you insert and then boom. You keep the needle gently in count to 60 then insert quickly. Some people believe it have a super autonomic nevous system. It is like fight or flight. When needle inserted the vein collapses or shuts down. So again you take a few moments and wait. You actually trick the body’s response and it does work. You have to act quick though and insert. So sometimes there is no need to take out the needle and start sticking all over. Then calling another nurse or Dr. I just read asking for the Dr. to do an IV. LOL, who teaches these interns and residents to insert an IV, urinary catheter, assist with most procedures the Dr. has never did before, the Nurse. But boy I can remember nursing school and in it with one of my best friends being asked to do something for the first time. We met in the Utility Room, hid and talked. On changing a line from surgery to a regular IV infusion line, thank goodness I had towels and the woman was on the phone and me and my friend had almost a full bag of fluids on the floor. We cleaned up the mess. We did the job sterile too, and we just had to hang a fresh bag. She never realized we had five towels filled with fluids with us as we left her room. So make sure your patient loves to talk on the phone when doing a new procedure, she is more interested in the gossip on the phone than what you are doing, as long as there is no pain involved, lol. I am now retired RN boy I complained every day about work, but boy did I love my job. My best friend and myself started nursing school together, boy were we upset when we first saw a nursing station. We really believed what was on General Hospital years ago with clip boards and everyone hanging around talking and not working. When we first saw the nurses station, we looked at each other and almost ran out. We said to each other everyone is working, lol. what happened to General Hospital. Well it is on TV acting a hard job too, but I bet they get better pay than a real nurse does. They get more recognition too. LOL. So those of you that are thinking of going into nursing, you have to love your work because that is what it is WORK, and hard too.

    5. Dorothy Crawford

      I have horrible veins because they are small. I do tell people where my best veins are because they usually wind up sticking me a bunch of times and that is not fun.

    6. Leslie

      Lol I’m a urology nurse. I always make a pact with the iv nurse – I won’t tell you where to start my iv as long as u don’t tell me where to put ur catheter.

    7. Valeri D

      How about the BEST thing to say to a patient when going to start an IV
      1. I am here to start your IV (not I’m going to try to start your IV).
      2. I will do my best not to hurt you, I understand your veins may roll, so I will pick the sturdiest one I can find.
      3. It’ll just take a second once I find a nice juicey one! LOL
      4. None of us “like” having to put an IV in, but you really need to have one.
      5. I am the one everyone asks when they have trouble. :)

    8. Ter

      This is hysterical because it’s true.

    9. Sophie

      i had a lady the other day say “can i have someone that knows what they’re doing” I hve been nursing for 6 years, w/over 3 being in the er. I am in float pool now and am the ‘go to’ for IV starts when on the floor. She said “oh, u look like u just graduated high school” yep, from high school straight to starting your iv…ugh!

    10. Helen Marshall

      Had the comment about my age too. The pt. started SCREAMING that he wanted a nurse from a certain floor. (Is there something magical about that floor I don’t know about?) A nurse that was in her 50’s but actually had less experience than I started his IV. He told her about “the kid who tried to start his IV and used the WRONG hand. (I’m left handed)

      Some pt’s will never be happy no matter what you say or do.

      • Armanda

        If I could get away with speaking this, I WOULD DEFINITELY SAY IT..LOL! I had to laugh really loud on this one!

    11. Maria

      I love this article! I think the worst is “I’m a hard stick, you should probably get someone who’s done it before.”

    12. Jeanne Vacca

      Trust me, no one wants an MD to start their IV,unless it’s an anesthesiologist!

    13. Mike RN

      4. “Are you any good at this?”

      There was a time a few years ago when there was a series of funny commercials on TV concerning a certain hotel chain. I used to get a kick out of the look on my patients’ faces when I would answer, “No. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!” They usually got the joke, and the ensuing chuckle helped them relax before my stick. Sometimes I wished I hadn’t started them giggling.

    14. Charles1a

      I just started my first IV ever! My patient had great veins and everything went well… Last time did not work out as well. That was then. 7 more weeks of school!