Intravenous literature: Moureau, N. (2013) Safe patient care when using vascular access devices. British Journal of Nursing. 22(2), p.S14-S21.
Any health professional providing care and treatment should first do no harm. With many serious infections affecting hospitals, patients can be fearful. Education and competency processes specific to vascular access devices (VADs) ensure staff have knowledge of the pathophysiology of infection, basic aseptic techniques for cannulation, device management, methods of flushing, assessing device functions, and dressing and securement techniques (Coopersmith et al, 2002; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2011; Infusion Nurses Society (INS), 2011; Pratt et al, 2007). However, knowledge in these areas is often taken for granted and it is assumed that health professionals are applying such knowledge in practice. Staff education is effective in reducing infection and complications (Coopersmith et al, 2002). Through teaching the Clean, Assess and Clear model, which applies to intravenous access, patient assessment and flushing catheters until clear, the basics of safe intravenous care can be consistently understood and applied, and competency assessed (Moureau, 2012). Education on the principles of aseptic technique is a necessary for all nurses and doctors to establish a culture of safety in all healthcare settings. Establishing consistent, simple and clear health professional education on the care and maintenance of intravenous devices, in compliance with guidelines and recommendations, is necessary to achieve the best outcomes (CDC, 2011; INS, 2011).