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Extending Short Peripheral Catheter Dwell Time

A Best Practice Discussion

Ansel, Brenda MSN, RN-BC, ACNS-BC, CEN, CHTP; Boyce, Michelle MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, CEN; Embree, Jennifer L. DNP, RN, NE-BC, CCNS

doi: 10.1097/NAN.0000000000000137

Complications involving short peripheral catheters (SPCs) can significantly affect health care costs, patient quality of life, morbidity, mortality, and treatment expense, especially when the hospital stay is lengthened. This article examines the relationship between SPC dwell time and the incidence of phlebitis and potential bacteremia. The literature is replete with most studies supporting SPCs remaining in situ until a clinical reason warrants catheter removal. Removing and not routinely restarting unneccessary intravenous catheters can help prevent catheter-related infections and other vascular complications and reduce cost.

Franciscan St. Francis Health, Indianapolis, Indiana (Ms Ansel and Ms Boyce) and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Nursing, Indianapolis, Indiana (Dr Embree).

Brenda Ansel, MSN, RN-BC, ACNS-BC, CEN, CHTP, is a clinical nurse specialist at Franciscan St. Francis Health in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Michelle Boyce, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, CEN, is a clinical educator in the emergency department of Franciscan St. Francis Health in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Jennifer L. Embree, DNP, RN, NE-BC, CCNS, is a clinical assistant professor at the School of Nursing at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis, Indiana, the coordinator of the MSN Nursing Leadership in Health Systems Program, and a clinical nurse specialist.

Corresponding Author: Brenda Ansel, MSN, RN-BC, ACNS-BC, CEN, CHTP, Franciscan St. Francis Spine Specialists, 8051 S. Emerson Avenue, Suite 360, Indianapolis, IN 46237 (

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

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