Intravenous (IV) catheter placement is one of the most basic and essential medical procedures. However, IV placement can be a source of anxiety for medical students as it is often their first procedural patient care. We sought to investigate the factors that impact the success rate of this skill and to determine at what rate students improve.
Materials and methods
A confidential web-based survey was distributed to a total of 367 third and fourth year students at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. The responses were collected over a 2-wk period in July 2015.
The response rate was 49.0% (180/367); 65.5% of the M3s and 21.8% of the M4s have never had an opportunity to place an IV. The success rate was higher in students with prior experience as laboratory researchers (86.6%, P = 0.014) as well as emergency medical technicians (81.4%, P = 0.038) when compared to students with no experience. Prior preparation such as reading, watching videos, or even lectures did not increase the success rate. Success rates rapidly improved from 47% for the first attempt to 86% for the fifth attempt.
A significant percentage of students did not have opportunities to attempt IV catheter placement. We found prior experience, not only as an emergency medical technician but also as a laboratory researcher, significantly increased the success rate. Prior preparations did not improve success rate, and most of the students were successful after only five attempts.
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Published online: May 10, 2016
Accepted: May 3, 2016
Received in revised form: April 27, 2016
Received: December 4, 2015
© 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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