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Handling and control of peripheral intravenous lines


Anna Lundgren Hamngatan 1, 593 33 Västervik, Sweden.


The purpose of the study was to describe nurses’ routines in connection with the planning, care and handling, and documentation of a peripheral intravenous cannula (PIV) and also to examine factors that control how nurses act. Nurses and physicians in three English hospitals were interviewed. The results showed a difference between nurses’ and physicians’ opinions about PIV routines, except in few cases. The PIV was inserted by the physicians while the nurses took care of and documented its care and handling. In many cases the insertion of the PIV was also documented by the nurses. Although small PIVs and short insertion time had previously been recommended, many physicians preferred large cannulae and an insertion time of between 3 and 7 days. All nurses and six physicians had the opinion that the cannula should be changed more often, but this did not happen. Some physicians maintained that the nurses’ care and handling varied. On the other hand some criticism had been expressed by the nurses about unclear directives from the physicians. English participants were aware that unsatisfactory routines existed and that the policy had not always been followed.