WESLACO — While it may look like something out of a “Star Trek”
film, nurses utilizing a specialized piece of equipment are aiming to
improve the patient experience at Knapp Medical Center – one needle
stick at a time.
With the AccuVein AV400 vein visualization system, the medical staff at
Knapp is taking the guesswork out of searching for viable veins for intravenous
needle insertions. According to information from the manufacturer, when
held about seven inches above the skin, the AccuVein system utilizes an
infrared laser light to show the position of veins, and works on both
adults and children regardless of skin pigmentation.
Getting a needle insertion right the first time goes a long way to improving
patient comfort and ultimately satisfaction, said Knapp Medical Center
House Supervisor and Registered Nurse Joe Garcia.
“The AccuVein really helps with starting IVs,” said Garcia,
who has been an RN for more than a decade. “As a nurse, finding
a good vein is at least 90 percent of the battle. If you find a good vein,
you’re practically done with the procedure. Even for patients who
have good veins, it is nice to use the vein finder to confirm what we
are seeing and feeling as nurses.”
Garcia said that most units at Knapp utilize the AccuVein system, but the
vein finders see the most use in both the Emergency Room and the Intensive
Care Unit, where critically ill or injured patients may require multiple IVs.
“Knapp’s ICU was the first unit at the hospital to receive
one of the finders, because the patients there tend to need more IV accesses
because they need multiple medications,” he said. “The same
patient could need three or four IV accesses and nurses have to find different
veins to run the medications through. It is also important to have a vein
finder in the ER, because a large percentage of our emergency room patients
need also need to receive IVs.”
Garcia said patients are often surprised by the futuristic-looking handheld
scanner and are ultimately pleased by Knapp Medical Center’s commitment
to providing a more comfortable patient experience.
“Every time I go into the room with one of the scanners, patients
are really impressed and say things like, ‘Wow, the other hospitals
don’t have this,’” he said. “Needle sticks are
one of those things that tend to bother patients, and little things like
the AccuVein really make a difference when it comes to providing a positive