As a nurse, you’ll be placing tourniquets on patient’s arms for tasks such as drawing blood, inserting IVs, and more. Therefore, it’s important to learn how to put on a tourniquet properly.
The best method to start a tourniquet is to use the simple rubber tourniquet band provided in the IV gauge kit or blood drawing kit. These bands are very lightweight and flexible, and they allow you to make a simple but effective compression on a patient’s arm without actually tying a knot. Instead, all you have to do is loop it around snugly, cross the bands, and then form a simple loop. This allows you to remove the tourniquet quickly and easily once you’ve finished your procedure.
At first it may be a little intimidating, but with a little practice, you’ll be able to apply and remove one with ease.
How to Put a Tourniquet on Your Patient
First, I always like to let the patient know what I’m doing. So I usually tell them that I’m placing the tourniquet on their arm to assist with whatever procedure I’m doing. I then take the tourniquet band and stretch it out behind their arm. Make sure to get a good stretch, as this will help compress their arm.
Next, loop the tourniquet around their arm, and cross the two ends as if you were going to tie your shoe laces. Next, take one end loop it around the area under the crisscross you made. Lower the tourniquet so that it tightens on top of this loop.
Notice how you don’t actually tie a knot. Instead, you simply loop it around and let the friction of the rubber hold it in place.
It’s also a good idea to ask the patient if the band feels too tight. You want it tight enough to compress the arm, but you don’t want it to be unnecessarily uncomfortable for the patient.
Here is a video presentation of the procedure:
Remember, all skills take time to master. The key is to practice as often as you can until you get it down.