One of the skills many nurses will be expected to have is starting intravenous lines (IVs). IVs can be used for many purposes including administering fluids, blood transfusions, and medications. Proper delivery of IV therapy is extremely important because if the therapy is delivered incorrectly, the patient's life could be put in danger. In order for IV therapy to be properly administered, the IV must be inserted into the vein properly, which requires a specific skill-set and the ability to follow protocols. To successfully answer this question, the candidate should elaborate on their ability and experience in starting and managing IVs. A more successful answer would include an example of when the candidate successfully handled a difficult circumstance while starting and/or managing and IV.
"The nursing position I held before my current job in pediatrics was at an infusion center, so I spent most of my days starting and managing patient IVs as they received their infusion medications. Because I worked in the infusion center for so long and started so many IVs, starting them is almost second nature to me. Many times, I find that patients are anxious about getting VIs, even in an infusion center environment, when they come in every so many weeks to get their medication; and since anxiety and stress can cause vasoconstriction, I do everything I can to explain the procedure and help the patient feel comfortable. I also take additional measures to make starting IVs easier on myself and the patient, such as placing a warm compress on the site to dilate the veins and, if possible, offering the patient water to help them hydrate. All these interventions help make the IV process easier for me but it also helps patients relax and become more comfortable."
"Back in 2013, I spent nine months working in an urgent care department, and in this position, I did start IVs on the patients who were receiving intravenous fluids or medications. While I have not worked in a position where I had to start IVs since then, I was able to work through many difficult situations while working in that position. I remember one patient who was extremely dehydrated and needed IV fluids to rehydrate, and while I was searching for a vein in her arm, I could not find one because her veins were so deep and small, which was worse because of her condition. Rather than poking her multiple times or taking the risk of blowing a vein, I found a vein in her hand that I could use and was able to successfully start an IV in her hand."
"While I was in nursing school, I was trained on administering IVs and in my clinical rotations, I had the opportunity to get hands-on experience, especially during my rotations in the emergency department and urgent care. While in these rotations, I started more than fifteen IVs, and I became very comfortable in doing so. However, since I finished nursing school and started working in the outpatient adult medicine clinic, I have not had the opportunity to practice this skill and I have not started any VIs in over two years. But, I feel very comfortable with my IV skills, and I think I will be able to quickly get back into good practice in only a few weeks."
"I am very comfortable starting and managing IVs, and, in fact, I start IVs on a daily basis at my job and I have for many years. Since I have spent the past decade working as an inpatient floor nurse, it has been my responsibility to ensure to properly manage my patients' IVs and move or reinsert them if needed. In my unit, I have a reputation for being able to start IVs even in the most difficult veins or the most difficult locations, and I am often called to help my colleagues start difficult IVs when they are running into trouble."
"I was trained to start IVs last Fall semester, and since that time, I have had the opportunity to practice this skill in my clinical rotations. I have successfully started 12 IVs since learning this skill and am confident in my ability to do so. I have also been placed in an ER for my capstone at the end of this semester and am excited to continue to practice my IV skills and learn many more to prepare me for a successful transition from student to nurse."
Very good! It's great that you offer up your specific number of successful IV's. You show a strong willingness to practice and learn.
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"I am very comfortable starting and managings IVs, and, in fact, I start IVs daily at my job, and I have for many years. I have a reputation for being able to start IVs even in the most difficult veins or the most difficult locations, and I am often called to help my colleagues start difficult IVs when they are running into trouble."
Good answer! Your interviewer will be impressed that you are the go-to person for starting IVs in difficult veins. To take your response to the next level, you can explain the method(s) used for finding veins, the types of difficult veins, catheter size, and an example of when you handled a difficult circumstance with starting an IV. I incorporated some of these elements your answer, though you can elaborate with details from your personal experience.
"I am very comfortable starting and managings IVs, and in fact, I start IVs daily at my job, and I have for many years. I have a reputation for being able to start IVs even in the most difficult veins, such as small, deep, fragile, or hidden veins and in the most challenging locations. I am often called to help my colleagues start difficult IVs when they are running into trouble. To find a vein in these challenging situations, I rely on palpation, gravity, and a tourniquet, vein finders, or vein lights, and then I use the smallest catheter available to reduce the possibility of damage to the vein."
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