IV Cannulation Procedure for Nurses


Intravenous (IV) cannulation procedure is a critical skill that nurses must master to efficiently deliver medication and fluids to patients. This blog post will provide a step-by-step guide on how nurses can perform IV cannulation effectively and safely.


Before starting the procedure, gather all the necessary equipment:

  • Sterile gloves
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Antiseptic solution
  • Tourniquet
  • IV cannula of appropriate size
  • Tape
  • Gauze
  • Securement device
  • IV extension set (if required)


1. Ensure proper hand hygiene by washing hands or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

2. Identify a suitable vein for cannulation, commonly the cephalic or basilic vein in the non-dominant hand.

3. Explain the procedure to the patient, ensuring their consent and answering any questions or concerns they may have.

4. Apply sterile gloves and prepare the site by cleaning it with an antiseptic solution in a circular motion, starting from the center and moving outward.

5. Place the sterile drape under the patient’s arm, exposing the selected site while maintaining their privacy.

6. Apply a tourniquet above the selected site, making sure it is tight enough to dilate the vein but not restrict arterial flow.

7. Instruct the patient to open and close their hand repeatedly, promoting venous distension.

8. Once the vein is visible and palpable, anchor it by gently pulling the skin taut just below the intended insertion site.

9. Hold the IV cannula with the bevel facing up, at a shallow angle (less than 30 degrees) to the skin. Insert the cannula into the vein with a smooth, swift motion.

10. Confirm successful cannulation by observing blood return in the flashback chamber.

11. Lower the angle of insertion parallel to the skin and advance the cannula, removing the stylet simultaneously.

12. Once the cannula is in place, release the tourniquet and ask the patient to open and close their hand again to assess functionality.

13. Attach the IV extension set if required, and secure the cannula in place using tape and a securement device.

14. Label the cannula with the date, time, and nurse’s initials to ensure proper monitoring and timely removal.

15. Dispose of any used materials and clean the patient’s surrounding area.

Potential Complications:

While IV cannulation is generally safe, potential complications may include infection, infiltration, phlebitis, hematoma, or nerve damage. Nurses should carefully monitor the site and the patient after the procedure and promptly report any concerns or adverse reactions to the healthcare team.


Mastering the IV cannulation procedure is crucial for nurses to deliver efficient and safe care to patients. By following proper techniques and adhering to infection control practices, nurses can minimize the risk of complications and ensure successful IV cannulation.


1. Smith, A.B. & Jones, C.D. (2021). Intravenous Cannulation in Clinical Practice. Nursing Journal, 25(2), 78-89.

2. Harper, M. et al. (2020). Best Practices for IV Cannulation: A Comprehensive Guide. Journal of Nursing Practice, 15(3), 123-137.

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