Universal precautions

The potential for contact with a patient's blood while starting an IV is high and increases with the inexperience of the operator. Gloves must be worn while starting an IV and if the risk of blood splatter is high, such as an agitated patient, the operator should consider face and eye protection as well as a gown. Trauma protocol calls for all team members to wear gloves, face and eye protection and gowns. As well, once removed from the protective sheath, IV catheters should either go into the patient or into an appropriate sharps container. Recapping needles, putting catheters back into their sheath or dropping sharps to the floor (an unfortunately common practice in trauma) should be strictly avoided.