Clinical Skills: Blood Cultures

  • Wash hands using soap and water
  • Introduce self
  • Check name with patient and on name band
  • Ask permission to take blood sample to check for any bacteria in the blood

  • Don gloves
  • Gather and set up equipment (in a tray washed from inside-out first)
    • Blood culture bottles - aerobic and anaerobic
      • make sure these are in date
      • note the optimal blood volume recommended on the side of the bottle (usually 8-10mls) - you should be aiming for adding this amount of blood to the bottle
    • Chlorhexidine swabs
    • Barrel
    • Needle/Butterfly (depending on Medical School/Hospital Trust policy)
    • Tourniquet
    • Gloves
    • Cotton wool/gauze
    • Tape

  • Return to patient
  • Reposition patient's forearm with palm facing upwards
  • Apply tourniquet and find suitable vein
  • Wash hands and don new pair of gloves
  • Wipe vein with alcohol swab - slowly and only once
  • Take top off of both culture bottles and wipe the top of each one with separate wipes
  • Wait for the tops of the culture bottles to dry (~30 seconds)
  • Warn patient of a sharp scratch and insert needle
  • If you are in the vein, insert the ends of the bottles into the barrel
    • Aerobic bottle first (as there will be spare gas in the needle or Butterfly)
  • Remove the tourniquet
  • Take out the needle and dispose of in sharps bin
  • Apply cotton wool and tape
  • Thank patient, tidy area and wash hands
  • Record that sample taken in the patient's notes. Note down on the microbiology blood form: the differential diagnosis and any current antibiotics being given.

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written by: celine_lakra; joel_cunningham,
first posted on: 1/03/12, 17:00


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