Peripheral cannulae in oncology: nurses’ confidence and patients’ experiences

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Peripheral cannulae in oncology: nurses’ confidence and patients’ experiences

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The insertion and care of peripheral intravenous cannulae (PIVCs) is a role performed by clinical staff that is fundamental to oncology. Previous research indicates nurses’ confidence and experience could mediate successful first attempt insertion, increasing the longevity of PIVCs and improving the patient experience.

The aim of this audit was to provide a snapshot of care and maintenance of PIVCs, patients’ experiences and nurses’ confidence at a specialist cancer hospital. An audit tool assessing PIVC care practices (n=51) and a patient experience questionnaire (n=65) were completed. A questionnaire assessing nurses’ confidence and training needs was completed by 36 nurses.

The findings raise some concerns about clinical practice when inserting PIVCs and ongoing care, with 80% adherence to cannulation policies. Almost half of insertion procedures failed at the first attempt and 17% of nurses lacked confidence in PIVC insertion and in recognising or responding to common complications. Patient satisfaction was high for ongoing PIVC care (95%), although some reported increased pain and anxiety after PIVC insertion, with some unresolved concerns.

The audit highlights several important areas for improvement in relation to PIVC insertion and maintenance and the need for greater adherence to clinical guidelines/policy and additional training were identified.

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