An Injection of Success for Med Students Learning to Place IV's
By: Corey Protzman | Jun 13, 2012 2:00 PM
Occasionally a simple solution can fix a big problem. That’s what two creative medical school professors discovered when they set out to address a long-standing observation from nurses regarding medical students' ability to place intravenous (IV) lines. Assistant professors of anesthesiology Elizabeth Thackeray, M.D., and Zuzana Stehlikova, M.D.(pictured right), co-directors of the elective course Anesthesia 740, have expanded beyond traditional teaching and transformed the way medical students learn.
Thackeray and Stehlikova took over the course in 2010 and sought a solution for a gap in medical student training that was brought up by nurses at the University Hospital. Many nurses expressed concern with the lack of knowledge and aptitude that medical students showed in placing IV lines. To address the issue, Thackeray and Stehlikova adjusted their existing class to incorporate an IV training component.
IV placement training is a two-week course, consisting of an IV lab where medical students get a lecture on starting IVs, practice inserting them on a manikin arm, and then on each other. After the students are taught in the IV lab, they spend one day at the university’s Moran Eye Center starting IVs with supervision and assistance by the pre-op nurses. On average, the students will administer IV’s to 10-15 patients during their day at Moran. Stehilkova says they have received positive feedback from both students and nurses. “We were really surprised how much the nurses approved of our training technique. They tell us all the time how helpful it is to have the students administer IV’s and that it really helps the fluidity of the pre-op area.”
The students have reported feeling less anxious about IV’s and more “a part of the team” after training. Thackeray also states that patient’s benefit from this training. “Patients are much less anxious to have a medical student administer the IV because the student exudes a certain level of professionalism after this rotation,” she says.
Thackeray and Stehilkova wanted to provide skills to medical students that go beyond the two-week rotation. The next step after the elective course is often an internship in which students are expected to master IV placement, among other things. “The great thing about this course is that it allows medical students to take on more patients and really master the technique so that when they become ‘independent practitioners’ on their rounds they have the ability to give patients total care” Stehlikova says.
When asked about the future of IV training, both agreed that this course already has surpassed expectations and that they are overwhelmed by the support they have received from U of U hospital staff, especially the nurses. “We really could not have reached this level of success without the support of the pre-op nurses who let these students into their worlds,” they said.
About the author:
Corey Protzman is an staff writer with the University of Utah Health Care's Public Affairs Office. She is a recent graduate of Gonzaga University with a B.A. in Communications.comments powered by Disqus