Before you start an IV, you have to collect and set-up your supplies. When you are new at starting IVs, gathering your supplies and knowing what to do with it can be challenging itself. There are some tips and tricks we want to share with you on how to set-up for an IV that may help you save time and effort.
This article will guide you with a list of supplies you will need when starting an IV, what each item is for, and how to prepare the supplies for IV insertion. Overtime, this will become second nature to you, but when you are new to the profession starting IVs takes practice and patience. If you find yourself having trouble starting IV please check out our “how to start IVs” article that includes a tutorial and video on how to do it.
Supplies Needed to Start an IV
- IV start kit- This kit includes a tourniquet , antiseptic (to clean the patient’s skin before starting the IV), gauzes, tape, tegaderm, sticker to label the IV with your initials, date, time, and gauge of IV needle.
- Extension Tubing or Cap-This will be used to connect to the IV once you have successfully inserted the IV.
- Normal Saline Flush-This will be used to flush the IV to ensure it is patent and works properly. Saline flushes normally come in pre-filled syringes but if you don’t have the pre-filled syringe you will need a vial of Normal Saline and a syringe (you will have to draw it up yourself).
- IV Needle-This is the needle you will use to access the vein. Once it is accessed you will remove the needle by engaging the safety and the plastic cannula will stay in the vein. I think of it as a straw in the vein.
Note: IV needles come in various sizes, also known as gauges. So pick the correct size according to what type of treatment your patient will be receiving. If you are confused on the different types of IV gauge needles please see this video on the explanation of them.
Steps on How to Set-up for an IV
Here are the basic steps on how to set-up for an IV. It is important to note there is not a standard on how this is done. Overtime, you will develop your own method but this is the method I use. Before you begin setting up for an IV perform hand hygiene and put on gloves. You always need to use gloves with accessing IV supplies to prevent contamination.
- Open the start kit: Remove the rubber band from the tourniquet, tear off about 5-6 inches of tape and tear this piece in half and set it aside. Then place your tourniquet, antiseptic and gauzes within your reach for starting the IV and fill out the sticker.
- Open your Normal Saline Flush or draw up your Saline flush (if you are not using the pre-filled syringes). Tip-When using pre-filled syringes be sure to remove the small air bubble in the syringe (see the video below for exact steps).
- Flush your extension tubing or cap that you will be using to connect to the IV catheter.
- Open the IV catheter packaging.
Then prepare to start the IV.