Collegian: The Australian Journal of Nursing Practice, Scholarship and Research
School of Nursing and Midwifery / Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Services Research
This study was funded by the Western Australian Nurses Memorial Charitable Trust.
Background: Sampling blood from a peripheral intravenous cannula offers an alternative to venepuncture. This practice can reduce frequency of venepuncture and patient discomfort. Opponents argue the practice increases the chance of haemolysis, risk of infection and device failure. Aim: To describe the prevalence and practice of blood sampling from peripheral intravenous cannulas by Australian nurses. Methods: This study used a descriptive cross-sectional design and data were collected using an electronic survey. The survey examined Australian nurses’ practice of sampling blood from peripheral intravenous cannulas. Quantitative descriptive data was analysed and presented as frequencies, percentages, medians and ranges. Findings: A total of 542 nurses participated in the survey. Of these, 338 (62.4%) completed the survey. The majority of responses came from the State of Victoria (n = 137, 40.5%) and one-third were emergency nurses (n = 112, 33.1%). Sampling of blood from peripheral intravenous cannulas occurred between 37.5% and 66.7% throughout the State and Territories of Australia. Peripheral intravenous cannula blood sampling was most common in the emergency department (n = 93, 53.4%). The most frequent reasons given were difficulty of access (n = 223, 66.0%) followed by patient comfort (n = 194, 57.4%). Discussion: Blood sampling is required to diagnose and monitor treatment responses. A peripheral intravenous cannula offers the opportunity to sample blood without the need for venepuncture. Practice recommendations on when to sample blood and correct sampling technique are based on limited or conflicting evidence. Conclusion: Findings from this study indicate it is common practice to draw blood samples from a peripheral intravenous cannula. Further research is required to examine the accuracy and safety of this practice to further inform policy.
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Safety and quality in health care