How to hang an IV bag in 31 simple steps.

Here is my personal, totally  evidence based, step-by-step guide to hanging a bag of IV fluids.

  1. Check fluid order sheet.
  2. Get correct fluids and IV pump from storage area.
  3. Spend 5 min looking for a nurse who is free to check & counter sign the fluid order sheet.
  4. Everyone busy. Consider hanging the fluids anyway. 
  5. Think better of it, and spend another 5 minutes waiting for a counter-sign.
  6. Wash hands.
  7. Check and hang fluids. 
  8. Open impenetrable giving-set packaging (Not easy from wrong end).
  9. Completely miss nozzle on fluid bag, and spike your thumb with the giving set.
  10. Wash hands.
  11. Find band aid for thumb.
  12. Go and get another giving set.
  13. Concentrate. Successfully spike fluid bag.
  14. Notice copious bubbles surging along giving set because you forgot to turn off the roller clamp before spiking the bag.
  15. Turn off roller clamp. Prime drip chamber. Purge bubbles from line.
  16. Make puddle of fluid on the floor because you haven’t prepared anywhere to run the fluid as you purge the line (Its OK…no one will notice).
  17. Connect IV tubing to patients cannula.
  18. No, wait. You forgot to get a swab to clean the bung before connecting.
  19. Check pockets (usually full of spare swabs).
  20. Nothing.
  21. Go get swab.
  22. Pt wants to use bedpan.
  23. Attend to patient.
  24. Wash hands.
  25. Realise you have used the wrong giving set for the pump. 
  26. Say bad word. 
  27. Throw IV flask and giving set in bin. 
  28. Slip in puddle on floor. 
  29. Say very bad word.
  30. Wash hands 
  31. Go to step 1.

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