At a glance: a guide to venepuncture in adults
This article will provide clinical guidance on carrying out venepuncture on an adult. It will discuss site, equipment selection and aseptic non-touch technique. The aims are to increase knowledge of the anatomical structures associated with venepuncture, demonstrate the clinical procedural technique of venepuncture, and provide an awareness of the dangers and complications of this invasive technique.
Venepuncture is a vital procedure that is routinely used in the care and management of patients and is one of the most commonly performed invasive procedures (Boyd, 2022). It enables health professionals to obtain a sample of blood for analysis by the puncture of a vein with a hollow-bore needle, vacuum system or butterfly infusion system (Thomas, 2015). These investigations typically include biochemical to analyse certain parameters, such as potassium and sodium levels, haematological to determine blood measurements and microbiological to determine the presence of pathogens (Gallagher, 2022). As this is a procedure that nurses may be asked to perform as part of their role, it is essential that they are adequately trained, competent in using the correct technique and aware of any advances or changes in the underpinning evidence (Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), 2018)
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