IV Cannulation Procedure for Nurses


IV cannulation is a crucial procedure for nurses that involves the insertion of an intravenous catheter into a patient’s vein. This procedure allows for the administration of fluids, medications, and blood products directly into the bloodstream. It is essential for nurses to have a comprehensive understanding of the IV cannulation procedure to provide safe and effective care to their patients.


Before starting the IV cannulation procedure, nurses should gather the necessary supplies. These include a sterile IV kit, gloves, antiseptic solution, tourniquet, adhesive bandage, and transparent dressing. The nurse should assess the patient’s medical history, current health condition, and any potential contraindications for the procedure. It is essential to explain the procedure to the patient and obtain informed consent.


1. Hand hygiene: Nurses should perform hand hygiene using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub to reduce the risk of infection.

2. Patient positioning: The patient’s arm should be positioned comfortably and extended with the palm facing upward.

3. Vein selection: Palpate the patient’s arm to identify suitable veins for cannulation. The most common sites are the dorsal metacarpal veins, cephalic vein, and basilic vein.

4. Apply tourniquet: Apply a tourniquet proximal to the intended cannulation site to make the veins more visible and accessible.

5. Vein cleansing: Cleanse the intended cannulation site with an antiseptic solution in a circular motion, starting from the center and moving outward. Allow the site to air dry.

6. Gloves: Put on sterile gloves to maintain aseptic technique throughout the procedure.

7. Cannula insertion: Hold the catheter and insert it into the vein at a 15-30 degree angle. Ensure proper blood flashback in the flashback chamber to confirm correct needle placement in the vein.

8. Catheter advancement: Once the needle is confirmed in the vein, advance the catheter over the needle until it is fully inserted.

9. Needle withdrawal: Withdraw the needle and discard it safely into a sharps container.

10. Securing the catheter: Stabilize the catheter and secure it in place using an adhesive bandage and a transparent dressing.

11. Flushing and connection: Flush the catheter with a sterile saline solution to ensure patency. Connect the IV tubing and secure it tightly to prevent dislodgement.

Monitoring and Care:

Following the successful IV cannulation procedure, nurses should closely monitor the patient for any signs of complications, such as infiltration, phlebitis, or infection. Regularly assess the site for redness, swelling, pain, or discharge. Ensure that the IV fluids, medications, or blood products are administered as prescribed.


The IV cannulation procedure is a fundamental skill for nurses to master. To minimize complications and provide optimal patient care, nurses should adhere to proper hand hygiene, aseptic technique, and diligent monitoring of the IV site. With proficiency in IV cannulation, nurses play a vital role in ensuring positive patient outcomes.

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