Monday, February 1, 2016

"I Can't See It"

We have a fairly new nurse in working with us on night shift, and like all new nurses she is keen to hone her IV starting skills.  She was helping me with an admission the other night and had volunteered to start the IV on my patient.  As I distracted the woman by asking her the 10,001 admission questions (or it at least seems like that many,) Melanie was trying to decide which vein to use.  

Finally she turned to me and asked, "Frannie, would you mind starting it? I just don't see one."

Melanie was relying on what most new nurses rely on to start an IV, her sight.  Nurses with a few hundred IVs under their belts no longer rely primarily on sight, they go by touch.

I put the tourniquet on the patient's arms and began massaging her arm all around to promote blood flow to the veins.  Then I began feeling with my fingertips all the usual places a vein would be located.  Melanie stood directly behind me watching.  I located the vein I wanted to stick and gently marked where the needle would go with the edge of my fingernail.  Immediately, Melanie reached over my shoulder to feel what she could not see.  An engorged vein has a distinctive "spongy" feel and I was glad she wanted to feel the vein I had selected.
Vein Finder in use

Sometimes if we have a patient who is a particularly difficult stick, we will use the "Vein Finder."  This device shines infrared light onto the skin.  Since hemoglobin absorbs infrared light, the veins show up distinctly from the surrounding tissue.  While the Vein Finder doesn't clearly show all obstacles to a successful venipuncture, it often helps tremendously.

Often in our early Christian lives we are like the young nurses, we want to see before we choose.  We want to walk by sight.  But the Apostle Paul clearly instructed us that our walk was to be one of faith in the Lord.

"(For we walk by faith, not by sight.)" 
(2 Corinthians 5:7.)

Learning to walk by faith, to not trust solely in what we see and hear and know, as we walk our Christian lives is not an easy thing.  As the writer of Hebrews described it:

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, 

the evidence of things not seen." 
(Hebrews 11:1.)

It calls us to judge each moment, each situation by what is true according to the Scriptures, not what we think we see or know.  In fact, the Scriptures, the guiding of the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of other believers act as our "vein-finders" to help illuminate our way.  

Surely if something we intend to do is prohibited in the Scriptures, we can know it is not God's will for us.  He will never instruct us to do something that is not in accordance with His will and character and His Word.

Our fellow Christians are also available to us for guidance and instruction.  The Bible tells us, ". . .in the multitude of counsellors there is safety." (Proverbs 11:14.)

Let us seek to be ever learning of this skill of walking by faith.  Let us, like my friend Melanie, take advantage of every opportunity to learn from those around us who are wise in the faith and to step out on that leap of faith.

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him:  for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6.)

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