Venous access: the patient experience

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Introduction: The evolution of venous access via peripheral cannulation, particularly in relation to the risks and the benefits of this procedure, is reported widely in the literature. However, there is limited research specific to the patient experience of undergoing venous access. Aim: The intent of this qualitative study was to understand patients’ experience of venous access, with the aim of bringing forth their voices about the experiences of repeated venous access/cannulation attempts. Methodology: This qualitative study used a hermeneutic phenomenological approach to explore the experiences of 15 participants in two rural oncology units in Australia. The participants had experienced repeated peripheral cannulation in order to receive chemotherapy. Study participants were asked to describe what it was like for them to be repeatedly cannulated. Data were collected via audiotaped individual interviews, the participants’ stories were transcribed and analysed thematically. Outcomes: Themes emerged from the participants’ stories that provided insights into their perceptions of the experience of being cannulated and the decision-making processes regarding how and where the procedure occurred. The findings suggest that a holistic approach to care was often missing causing the participants to feel vulnerable. Gaining insight into their experiences led to a greater understanding of the impact of this procedure on patients and the need to improve care through encouraging more collaborative decision-making processes between clinicians and patients. Conclusion: The implications for policy and practice focus on improving patient outcomes via procedural governance and education, with the intent of translating the findings from this research into evidence-based practice.




Robinson-Reilly, M., Paliadelis, P., & Cruickshank, M. (2016). Venous access: the patient experience. Supportive Care in Cancer, 24(3), 1181–1187.

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