Background: Vascular access is a critical component of care for patients in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Our NICU had only a small number of nurses cross-trained to perform peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) insertions and was not able to provide coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We combined the vascular access team (VAT) and NICU PICC team to improve the timeliness of NICU PICC insertions, standardize care, and use ultrasound for all PICC placements.

Methods: A paper guide tool was developed to prioritize PICC placements as emergent, same-day, or nonemergent. NICU nurses were trained to insert PICCs using ultrasound. Catheter insertion and care processes were standardized for the new centralized PICC team. NICU and VAT staff worked together to improve daily communication, hand-offs, and referrals. Criteria were developed to determine the appropriate hospital location for PICC insertions. Charge nurses began capturing information about patients with PICCs on daily planning sheets.

Results: Following implementation of the new combined VAT, the average wait time for emergent and same-day insertions decreased 10%. No adverse events were reported due to a delay in PICC placement or the PICC referral process.

Conclusions: Combining the NICU PICC insertion nurses and the VAT into a new centralized PICC team provided an opportunity for growth in both areas. NICU PICCs are now placed efficiently based on patient acuity and referral prioritization throughout the hospital. NICU and VAT physicians and nurses have developed a strong partnership for the provision of PICC services for NICU patients.

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