IV Therapy Tips & Tricks: How to Hit a Vein Every Time

IV Therapy Tips & Tricks: How to Hit a Vein Every Time. IV therapy can be complex if you lack experience or practice.

This is an essential skill that nurses must master. If you miss the right spot, your patient may experience discomfort.

Here are my top intravenous and IV therapy tips and tricks to ensure you hit every vein.

How do You Hit a Vein Every Time?


To find a vein, first, you need to palpate the skin.

Most veins are invisible to the naked eye, even if a nurse is trained. Therefore, it is essential to touch the skin to locate the veins beneath it.

You can detect veins with experience by using palpation. You should be gentle and not use any arteries to insert the veins.

Use a vein Finder

A vein finder light can be a good option if you are still nervous about finding veins by palpation.

I’ve reviewed many vein finders, and they are all listed here. A vein finder is a great tool for nurses, home caregivers, and anyone who needs to locate veins for treatment.

Simply shine the vein finder lamp over your skin to find a viable vein.

Check the Vein

After finding a vein, the next step is to evaluate its condition and suitability.

A well-hydrated patient will have more muscular veins, making them more suitable for insertion.

In cases of severe dehydration, IV therapy can prove more difficult. Sometimes it may take several attempts.

It is essential to ensure that the vein you intend to insert the catheter into is strong enough to withstand the procedure.

Skill and practice are crucial to making the vein visible. Let’s take a look at how you can achieve this.

Making the veins more visible


Asking the patient to lower their arm by their side can make veins visible.

Gravity slows venous return and dilates the veins, making them more visible for palpation.

Fist Clenching

You could instruct the patient to raise their arm while you hold it.

It acts by compressing and distorting distal veins, which increases venous filling.

Gently Flicker the Vein.

You can sometimes make a vein more obvious by gently tapping or flicking the flesh.

The tap’s slight pressure causes vein dilation by releasing histamines under the skin.

Don’t be too strict with this technique. Also, avoid pinching the veins. Nerve endings in veins react to pain stimuli. This can lead to vein contractions and make them less visible.

Your patient might also be hurt, which is obviously bad news.

Use Warm Compression.

Warm, moist compresses left for 10 minutes on the area where you intend to insert IV therapy will also be helpful.

The vein becomes more visible as a result of the increased temperature.


One significant way to increase the visibility of veins has been left out of my list: the reliable tourniquet.

Wrapping a tourniquet over the site of insertion can increase vein dilation. You will be able to palpate much more efficiently due to the prominence and size of the vein.

You should again assess the vein, as described above, to determine a suitable entry point for insertion.

Inserting a catheter

Once you have found the vein and made it visible, it is time to insert your catheter.

Let’s look at how to do this correctly the first time.

Clear the Area

Clean the area around the insertion point so that the dressing and tape stick tightly.

The alcohol pad can assist the venous flow by being rubbed in the flow direction. This will allow you to fill the vein more before inserting.

Prepare Skin to Insert

After the alcohol has dried, you can pull the skin taut below the insertion point.

A tighter skin area will allow the needle to penetrate the veins more efficiently.

It can also reduce pain.

Add the Catheter

It is now time to insert your catheter. The catheter should be inserted vertically, just above the vein. Mistakes can occur if you insert at an incorrect angle or to the side.

Suppose you do not use angle venipuncture properly. In that case, you may accidentally push the needle into the vein instead of through it.

Another helpful technique is to rotate it gently as you insert the catheter. This will help your venipuncture areas with vessel tortuosity, fragility, or frictional resistance.

Stop the Procedure if There is Undue Resistance.

Stop the procedure if you feel resistance in the veins or if the pain is real.

You should take your time to ensure the patient is well. Next, reassess your vein to determine if any damage has occurred or what might be the problem.

Then, you can start again to locate a vein for insertion.

Do not Insert Too Far.

You should not push the envelope too far if you feel that the insertion is going smoothly.

After reaching the vein and seeing a slight backflow of blood, stop pushing the catheter forward and take out the needle.


Once the needle is removed, you can attach the catheter to the patient’s body and, if necessary, remove the tourniquet.

Now the patient is ready to go for the infusion line. You’ve completed the procedure successfully.


“Comparative evaluation of the effectiveness and video-assisted instruction on intravenous catheter placement skills and self-confidence. A quasi-experimental investigation,” Elif gunny Ismailoglu and Nilay Orkun. Nurse Education Today, Volume 95, 2020, 104596, ISSN 0260-6917, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2020.104596.

Related: Health Risks from Standing on Your Feet All Day