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Friday Afternoon PICCs

I am a one person PICC team and work M-F 0800-1630.  Over the past several months it seems that I have been getting bombarded with 5-6 PICC consults on Fridays after 1200.  Many of these patients have been in the hospital for several days or even weeks.  I am a "softy" and usually end up staying overtime to complete these consults as I don't want these pts. to be "poked" over and over during the weekend.  I know I probably should just get a tougher coat and do what I can and stop at 3pm( no exceptions).

I was just wondering if anyone else has run into this and how you have solved it.  thanks.


We get a pharmacy printout

We get a pharmacy printout every day of all the IV meds each patient is on. We quickly go over it looking  for PICC possibilities.  i.e.  pt on vanco,  2-3 antibiotics at a time, etc. We will then inquire with the pt nurse if they think the patient is a good candidate for a line.  We also are availiable for hard PIV sticks which puts us in a good position to pick up on the harder  cases and initiate the PICC process before the weekend comes.

I understand..I was the only
I understand..I was the only PICC nurse for 4 years...and I dreaded many as(13 lines/Friday) Hours of overtime, which was what I produced to my manager..(and the threat of quitting!) of course the overtime was what got me an additional nurse...
A more proactive approach to

A more proactive approach to identify patient candidates for PICCs as early as possible after admission will improve this situation - the right catheter in the right patient at the right time. I teach primary care nurses when it is not appropriate to continue using a short peripheral catheter. When they identify a patient that falls outside of the parameters for a PIV, they are taught to call the vascular access nurse for a consultation, detailed assessment and soliciting the order from the physician. Those parameters include therapy longer than a week, pH less than 5 or greater than 9, osmolarity greater than 600, poor skin turgor, limited number of peripheral sites. Lynn

Lynn Hadaway, M.Ed., RN, BC, CRNI

Lynn Hadaway, M.Ed., NPD-BC, CRNI

Lynn Hadaway Associates, Inc.

PO Box 10

Milner, GA 30257


Office Phone 770-358-7861

I am a one person PICC team,

I am a one person PICC team, also.  I, too, am sometimes a softy, but if you lay down some ground rules, it will be better for you.  The doctors have signs in their team rooms stating that a patient will have a better chance of receiving a PICC the same day if they order before 1200, and that no lines will be started after 1500. I also reinforce these things verbally from time to time. 

I also gave an inservice to the residents, which seems to have helped in many areas.  We talked about reasons to order a PICC, as well as assessing patient for access needs starting at admission. 

Also, when the docs call or order a PICC, even if it is early, on a busy day, I let them know I may not have time for the line today.  A little realism.

I have the patient census printed to my office, and look over patients and diagnosis, and approach the docs if I think a patient could benefit.  Usually I am too busy to actually look over the lists, but I do occasionally. 

The bedside RNs are pretty good about advocating for the patients and asking the docs to order PICCs. 

I have found that inserting PICCs is physically and  emotionally draining sometimes, and you have to say no and stop your day at some point. 

I hope some of these ideas will help you.


been there, done that. i

been there, done that.

i agree with what has been written already.

getting out on the floor and working with the nurses and talking with the drs about early intervention,  instead of 3-4 piv in 3-4 days, do a picc. 

early recognition is the key and you have to start it.  good luck

and sometimes you just have to learn to say no.(once in a while, another word or two as well)

Is it just the fridays? or
Is it just the fridays? or do you need another PICC nurse to help with your load? I went through this for years and banked a lot of overtime that no-one balked at.  Plus never took any time off as had no-one to work for me. At my place, the medical staff have a lot of influence. When I ended up on workmans comp after an accident, there was a real uproar when there was no-one to place the lines but IR (and they werent too helpful).  Got another full time person in a blink of an eye. Want to avoid that trauma?....Have your PICC company do an analysis of how many FTEs are needed for your size hospital.  They can help you present to the powers that be.  Encorporate the medical staff to help justify the need for more staff.  However, if you keep on churning out those PICCs on demand, they may not see a problem. The assessment advantage stuff is a great idea but if you are so busy placing lines all the time you end up being more reactive than proactive. No matter what, fridays still end up being a problem... with another RN on your team, you can expand the service to include saturdays which really helps.  Good luck to you.
The real costs of turfing

The real costs of turfing patients to a later time or to Radiology would make for a very interesting study, IMO. For example, how many PICC teams are Monday to Friday with no weekend coverage and what is the "cost" of waiting from 3pm on Friday until Monday. We say that PICC's are the standard of care but in the same breath they aren't an emergency. Are the best standards of care limited to weekdays?  In lots of places, they are. 

By real costs I don't mean just money; what is the cost of delayed discharges? Central lines placed when the PICC team isn't available? Delayed or poorly managed IV therapy (i.e, using PIV's for PPN etc.) and what part of all that does the patient have to pay in burned veins, pain, etc. We already know that IR placed PICC's generally are many hundreds of dollars more expensive.

Ideally, better planning and early assessment are part of the answer but we need to be realistic that running a service 5 days a week without backup does have it's "costs."

Rich Lewis, RN

Gwen Irwin
We have expanded our service

We have expanded our service hours to include weekends.  For years, the demand didn't indicate a need.  BUT finally it did.  We did have patients there over the weekend waiting for PICCs.

Weekends can be busy now.  However, there are patients that have been hospitalized for over a week that are now weekend candidates.  This is an indication that we have not progressed to early assessment for the right line.

We hope to improve the assessment of patient's needs earlier.  We have many RNs advocating for patients and still see patients that have been hospitalized for some time and that have been stuck for peripherals numerous times.  This is what we would really like to change.

 Gwen Irwin

Austin, Texas

 We operate  7 days a week

 We operate  7 days a week for PICC insertions but at a reduced manpower rate on the weekends. We beefed up our staffing on Fridays into the later evening hours to allow for fewer PICCs falling into the weekends. It is a matter of juggling the few FTEs we are given.

We do identify patients through early assessment but find that the ID docs are holding us back for 48-72 more hours waiting on blood cutlure results.

Jose Delp RN BSN

Clinical coordinator IV Team

Upper Chesapeake Health

Jose Delp RN BSN

CliClinical Nurse Manager IV Team

Upper Chesapeake Health

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