How to Insert an IV Cannula – A Step-by-Step Guide

Inserting an intravenous (IV) cannula is a basic skill that healthcare professionals must master. It enables the administration of fluids, medications, and blood products directly into the patient’s bloodstream. In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of IV cannula insertion step-by-step, ensuring patient safety and optimal care.

Step 1: Gather the Required Equipment

Before starting the procedure, gather the necessary equipment. This includes an IV cannula, an IV catheter, a needle and syringe, sterile gloves, an antiseptic solution, a tourniquet, adhesive tape, and a securement device.

Step 2: Prepare the Patient

Explain the procedure to the patient, ensuring their consent. Position the patient comfortably and expose their arm, preferably the non-dominant one. Apply a tourniquet a few inches above the intended insertion site to make the veins more visible and accessible.

Step 3: Perform Hand Hygiene and Don Sterile Gloves

Prioritize infection control by performing thorough hand hygiene and donning sterile gloves. This minimizes the risk of introducing pathogens and contaminants to the patient’s bloodstream.

Step 4: Identify the Vein and Perform Site Preparation

Assess the veins in the patient’s arm and select an appropriate insertion site. Common sites include the median cubital, cephalic, or basilic veins. Cleanse the site with an antiseptic solution and allow it to air dry or follow the recommended drying time.

Step 5: Secure the Vein and Insert the Cannula

Hold the IV cannula at a shallow angle, bevel up, and gently insert it into the selected vein. Once the flash of blood appears, advance the cannula further into the vein. Secure the vein with your non-dominant hand to minimize movement.

Step 6: Remove the Needle and Connect the IV Tubing

Withdraw the needle slowly, ensuring the cannula remains in place. Dispose of the needle safely. Connect the IV tubing securely to the cannula hub while maintaining aseptic technique.

Step 7: Flush the Cannula and Secure in Place

Before starting any infusion, flush the cannula with a saline solution to ensure patency. Secure the cannula in place using adhesive tape and a securement device, taking care not to apply excessive tension.

Step 8: Document the Procedure and Assess the Patient

After completing the insertion, document the procedure in the patient’s medical record. Assess the patient for any signs of complications, such as infiltration or infection, and provide appropriate care as needed.

Step 9: Ensure Patient Comfort and Safety

Throughout the IV therapy, regularly assess the insertion site, monitor the infusion for any adverse reactions, and ensure the patient remains comfortable. If any complications arise, promptly address them according to clinical guidelines.

Step 10: Dispose of Equipment and Perform Hand Hygiene

Once the IV therapy concludes or a new insertion is required, safely dispose of all used equipment. Perform hand hygiene meticulously to prevent the spread of potential infections.


Mastering the skill of IV cannula insertion is crucial for healthcare professionals. By following this step-by-step guide, you can ensure the safety and well-being of your patients during this common procedure. Remember to prioritize infection control, patient comfort, and accurate documentation throughout the process.

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