As nurses enter the clinical setting, they will have to know how to draw blood as part of their clinical skills experiences. It may be necessary to draw a patient’s blood for a number of reasons, and it is necessary to draw blood from patients in a manner in which does not cause them any pain or complications.
Introduction on the Purpose of Drawing Blood
There is no way that nurses will be able to get around drawing blood during their clinical skills nursing experiences. The process of drawing blood may look easier than it is, but there is a precise manner in which to draw blood from patients. The process of drawing blood can be very dangerous for patients when their nurse lacks precise blood drawing skills. Taking the proper steps to draw blood protects the health and safety of patients and the nurse assigned to draw their blood. A successful blood drawing begins with a nurse using precision in their blood drawing skills.
Steps on How to Draw Blood
- Place on a sterile pair of gloves before drawing the patient’s blood.
- Make sure that the patient is completely comfortable. Ask the patient a series of questions to verify his or her identity. After checking the identifying information against the information provided by his or her doctor, use the identification information to make the specimen tubes before drawing the blood.
- Gather the necessary supplies (alcohol swabs, tubes, tourniquet, etc.) to draw the patient’s blood and have them ready in the order of their use.
- Drawing the patient’s blood from the large vein located in the crook of the elbow is the best choice since the vein is close to the skin’s surface. In some cases, nurses may have to choose a vein in another part of the body in order to get a good draw.
- Tightly place a tourniquet on the patient’s upper arm to prepare the location. Only tie the tourniquet tight enough to make the vein bulge. Pat the vein and find the best location in which to draw blood.
- Gently and quickly insert the needle into the chosen vein with a smooth motion so that the patient experiences the least amount of pain during the process.
- Insert the specimen tub into the holder while maintaining the steadiness of the needle. The tube will fill with the exact amount of blood needed for the specimen. Manually pull the back of the syringe to fill the vacutainer with blood if using the needle and syringe.
- After collecting the last blood specimen, pull out the needle at the exact angle that is was inserted. Immediately apply gauze to the wound after removing the needle and apply a light amount of pressure to prevent bleeding.
- Dispose of the used needle immediately after using on the patient.
- Lightly swish the blood in the tubes to ensure that the specimens mix thoroughly.
- Take one last opportunity to ensure that the blood specimens are labeled accurately before sending the specimens to a lab.
Video on How to Apply a Tourniquet to Draw Blood
Video on How to Find a Vein in order to Draw Blood
Video on How to Draw Blood Venipuncture
Tips on Drawing Blood As a Nurse
- Ensure that the last blood specimen tube is removed before removing the needle from the collection site.
- Collecting blood from small veins works best using the syringe and needle system.
- Ensure that the blood specimens are mixed well after collection to prevent false test results.
- Use the butterfly syringe and needle system for elderly adults and children.
- Don sterile gloves before making contact with patients and collection tools.
- If possible, use a large vein to collect blood specimens.
- Use sterile gloves when collecting blood from each patient.
Complications with Drawing Blood
One of the most common complications is when some patients faint during the blood collection procedure. Another common complication is bruising around the needle insertion area a few days after the collection.
Other complications that are less common include tendon injury, delayed bleeding, allergic reactions, nerve irritation, thrombophlebitis, arterial puncture, nerve injury, hemolysis, hematoma formation, and hemoconcentration. There is also the risk of having blood collected using reused equipment. Situations such as these are not very likely but possible.
It is also possible that the blood collector can contract a disease from the patient with transmissible diseases. This complication is not likely when patients follow the infection control policies in place.
Nurses must be very precise when it comes to collecting the blood of patients. The process is quick and nearly painless for patients when experienced nurses collect blood specimens. Blood collection is a skill that nurses will use throughout their nursing careers.
As long as special care is taken, the risk of complications can be minimized.