Background: Bachelor of Science in Nursing students get minimal exposure or experience in the assessment and care of vascular access devices (VADs) let alone the placement of such devices. Students in our university nursing program receive no structured experience. Students learn how to assess and care for VADs in the clinical setting while working with clinical faculty and staff nurse mentors.

Purpose: The purpose of this pilot program was to increase the awareness and understanding of VADs for third-year nursing students to enhance their comfort level in assessing and caring for these devices.

Methods: Thirty-two third-year nursing students, in groups of 8, participated in this pilot program in addition to their usual academic and clinical assignments. The 4 structured components of this program included a didactic session to share basic VAD information, simulation laboratory time to practice peripheral intravenous line insertion, a 4-hour one-to-one shadowing experience with a vascular access service team registered nurse providing patient care, and a wrap-up session by the vascular access service team educational nurse coordinator to provide debriefing and additional information.

Conclusions: Students who participated in this pilot program expressed an increased level of comfort regarding VADs. They came away with knowledge that other nursing students in the program do not receive during their academic and clinical time.

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