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Learning IVs and Injections – on Each Other?

July 9th, 2010 by – Marijke Durning

How did you or how are you learning to start intravenouses (IVs) and give injections? Do you have dummies or models on which to practice or do you practice on each other?

I’m old enough to say that we didn’t learn IVs in nursing school, but we did learn how to give injections. Inserting IVs was taught in the hospitals that hired us, because not all hospitals allowed nurses to start them at the time.

I am very pleased to say that we did NOT practice injections on each other. I honestly believe I would have quit school and not returned if that was the case. I know that many people do learn this way, but to me, it’s barbaric and unnecessary.

When I was 17 and starting in nursing school, I was terrified of needles. I had had bad experiences receiving injections, so I avoided them as much as I could. Luckily for me, that’s no longer the case, but back then, it was a real phobia. I would pass out at the thought of receiving an injection.

We began learning how to give injections as we practiced in the nursing lab at the college. We had realistic feeling models on which to practice. We could practice IM injections on body parts that had the feel of skin and, remembering back, they were quite accurate on how they felt when the needle pierced the “skin” and entered “muscle.” I was quite scared when learning – after all, when you don’t like receiving injections, it’s quite intimidating to give them. But learn I did, because it was on an object, not a person.

When I learned IVs, we had extremely realistic “arms” on which to practice. You could insert into a vein, blow a vein, you name it. It must have been a good learning experience, because I had no problems beginning an IV in a patient when I had to. My first few experiences with patients were effortless – I was well prepared.

People who advocate learning on each other as students say that it’s good practice because A) it’s a real person and B) it gives you an idea of how it feels to have it done to you. While opinion A may count, I strongly disagree with opinion B.

Whenever you start an IV or even give an injection, you are performing an invasive procedure. IVs, in particular, can be quite painful if you don’t have ideal veins. When and where was it written that we must receive an invasive procedure from a fellow student in order to learn? If so, why stop at injections and IVs? Why not start catheterizing each other to get the “real” feel of it. Of course we don’t do that – it’s ridiculous, right? So how is poking each other with sharp needle any less ridiculous?

What about you? How did you learn and what do you think?

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Posted in Common Nursing Procedures

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