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Intravenous cannulation: A step-by-step procedural guide

CPD Hours



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Clinical practice and procedures


Intravenous cannulation is an invasive procedure performed on a significant proportion of all patients admitted to hospital. It is performed in outpatient clinics and the community health care environment.

In order to ensure patient safety and comfort, all nurses and midwives performing intravenous cannulation must ensure proficiency in their technique. Competency is essential.

This is the 5th in a series of 5 modules on venepuncture and cannulation. The 5 modules are:

  1. Indications and vein selection
  2. Equipment selection
  3. Special considerations for paediatrics and neonates
  4. Venepuncture - A step-by-step procedural guide
  5. Cannulation - A step-by-step procedural guide

This module provides a step-by-step guide on how to perform intravenous cannulation, common complications, and the appropriate interventions when complications do arise.


Prior to undertaking cannulation, nurses and midwives should check local policies and access the appropriate practical training and competency assessments. Only those deemed competent should perform intravenous cannulation.

Learning Objective

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • Describe the step-by-step procedure for performing intravenous cannulation.
  • Identify how the five moments of hand hygiene are applied to cannulation procedures.
  • List the possible complications of intravenous cannulation and understand what to do if they should arise.

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