Reflective accounts

Intravenous cannula site management

A CPD article improved Claire Dempsey’s knowledge of intravenous cannula site management
cannulation

A CPD article improved Claire Dempseys knowledge of intravenous cannula site management

What was the nature of the CPD activity, practice-related feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The CPD article provided information about safe and effective practice in intravenous cannulation, including indications for cannulation, appropriate cannulation sites, types and sizes of cannula, cannula maintenance, recognising and avoiding complications.

What did you learn from the CPD activity, feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

From reading the CPD article, I have learned about the importance of ensuring there are appropriate indications for cannulation. As an angiography staff nurse, the decision to cannulate is part of the angiography pathway used by the healthcare organisation. It is important to undertake a holistic assessment of the patient to ensure

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A CPD article improved Claire Dempsey’s knowledge of intravenous cannula site management


Aseptic non-touch technique is essential in IV cannula care Photo: John Houlihan

What was the nature of the CPD activity, practice-related feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The CPD article provided information about safe and effective practice in intravenous cannulation, including indications for cannulation, appropriate cannulation sites, types and sizes of cannula, cannula maintenance, recognising and avoiding complications.

What did you learn from the CPD activity, feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

From reading the CPD article, I have learned about the importance of ensuring there are appropriate indications for cannulation. As an angiography staff nurse, the decision to cannulate is part of the angiography pathway used by the healthcare organisation. It is important to undertake a holistic assessment of the patient to ensure the cannulation is based on their needs.

The use of intravenous cannulation is common in hospitalised patients and is generally considered to be low-risk; however, complications, such as sepsis, can affect the patient’s quality of life and may be fatal. The article has improved my knowledge of the complications of cannulation, such as phlebitis, infection, infiltration and extravasation.

Complications can cause the patient pain and anxiety, so it is essential to recognise and manage problems promptly. I have learned it is important to discuss cannulation with the patient, to reduce their anxiety and determine whether they are experiencing pain or discomfort.

The article stated that aseptic non-touch technique should always be used during intravenous cannula care and that the nurse should ensure the cannula is safe to use, by following local policies and the cannula care pathway. It is important to use the correct dressing, because this is the first line of defence against infection.

How did you change or improve your practice?

Information in the article about type and size of cannula will enable me to assess the most appropriate cannula for each patient’s treatment. By assessing the patient’s needs holistically, and taking into account the information discussed in this article, I will be able to review and improve my clinical practice.

When assessing patients before their angiography procedure, I will ensure the patient is prepared, by explaining the cannulation procedure and why it is required, thus reducing their anxiety and distress.

My role as an intravenous link nurse involves educating and sharing information with my colleagues about safe and effective intravenous cannulation techniques. I hope to improve my effectiveness as an educator by using the knowledge I have gained from reading this article.

How is this relevant to the Code? Select one or more themes: Prioritise people, Practise effectively, Preserve safety, Promote professionalism and trust

All four themes of the Code – but particularly preserving safety and promoting professionalism and trust – are relevant to this CPD article.

I am committed to promoting safer intravenous cannulation practice. Using the information provided in the CPD article, recommended best practice guidelines, and local policies for care of patients with intravenous cannula will enable me to maintain safe and effective practice. As an intravenous link nurse, I am able to support my colleagues to practise effectively, and to maintain the skills and knowledge required to provide safe and effective care and to promote professionalism and trust.

Claire Dempsey is a staff nurse at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust, West Yorkshire


This reflective account is based on NS858 Brooks N (2016) Intravenous cannula site management. Nursing Standard. 30, 52, 53-62.

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