Peripheral intravenous catheter placement is a skill that is used daily in the hospital. However, many nurses face the challenge of cannulating increasingly complex and difficult-to-access vasculature. Although emergency department clinicians have been using ultrasound to facilitate this procedure for the last 18 years, ultrasound-guided peripheral intravenous catheter placement has not been as rapidly adopted in the critical and acute care nursing realms. Given the benefits of this procedure, including increased patient satisfaction and reduced use of central catheters, its use should be encouraged among all acute care clinicians. The aim of this article is to provide the bedside nurse with a basic understanding of the techniques involved in placing ultrasound-guided peripheral intravenous catheters in patients with difficult venous access.

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