Part of the curriculum for the EMT-Intermediate is learning how to initiate IV therapy and give a limited number of drugs. There are mannequin arms and hands filled with fake blood to practice on, but they are so well used that finding a vein is a matter of following all the other puncture marks and the fake blood oozes out continuously rather than being a more realistic response to a fresh "stick". Even so, the idea is to practice on someone who isn't going to be injured by any stupid mistakes we might make. But eventually, in my group within an hour, you move on to real people, specifically your class mates. The rule is give a stick, get a stick. Here's the results of Monday's practice:
I took 3 sticks that night and this is the only one that looks this nasty (I promise Mom). The flash on the camera doesn't really do it justice, but you get the idea. I knew it was as nasty looking as I thought it was when I walked into the ambulance station and the couple of people who got a glimpse asked what the hell I let someone from class do to me. I have big, big veins that are fairly hard to miss, and the guy who did it sure didn't miss, he just caught the side of it the first time and then straightened out to hit it dead on.
Last night wasn't quite so bad, I was partnered up with the only guy who missed class and live sticks on Monday, so he tried once on each arm, hitting on the second try but at least not leaving any major bruises. Personally, I'm 2 for 3 on my sticks so far. Class only requires 5 successful sticks total, but I'm aiming to have at least 5 on each ER clinical shift.