How To Apply Tourniquet Properly For Nurses

I think it’s already part in our system as nurses to get to know how to get things done even by just looking at it the same thing as how to apply tourniquet because I can’t exactly remember a day in college when nursing clinical instructors teach it in of our classes. However, as you do it every now and then, you surely ask yourself if there is even a proper technique because sometimes in my case, I am doubtful with how I do it especially the way it looks on the patient’s arm and everything seems messed up.haha

Most Common Tourniquets Used in the Nursing Field

There are actually two types of tourniquets that are commonly used in the nursing field: the rubber tourniquets and the quick and slow release tourniquet.

how to apply tourniquet
Quick and Slow Release Tourniquet
how to apply tourniquet
Rubber Tourniquet

As a hemodialysis nurse, I find the quick and slow release tourniquet as the best option for cannulating patients because it makes the site neat or tauts the skin perfectly or uniformly haha compared to a rubber torniquet that kinda bulges the skin in the area where the knot is made. On the other hand, the rubber torniquet still remains to be the most reliable when it comes to IVF insertion because the quick and slow release ones doesn’t tighten as much as the rubbers can.

However, if there are really instances when the slow and quick release tourniquets just disappear without you knowing and you are left with the rubber tourniquets so here you go, here’s how to apply tourniquet for nurses.

The video below was shot during our IVT Update, credits to the instructor and no copyright infringement intended.

How To Apply Tourniquet For Nurses

It depends as to where your dominant hand is. So, if you are right-handed, it’s RIGHT over LEFT while for left-handed nurses, it’s LEFT over RIGHT.

  1. Place the tourniquet under the patient’s arm. You should have a shorter side and a longer side. The longer side should be on your dominant hand.
  2. Create a low loop on your longer hand.
  3. Loop the tourniquet around the patient’s arm with following:
    Right handed: right over left
    Left handed: left over loop
  4. When tightening the tourniquet: pull the shorter side while holding the longer side in place.
  5. When releasing the tourniquet: pull the longer side

That’s how simple it is. I never thought that there is really a proper way on how to apply tourniquet that contains rules and etc making the whole procedure really simple. I swear after learning it, I kinda like using the rubber tourniquets already.haha The procedure is so simple that merely polishes your tourniquet application skills.

What’s your tourniquet story?

Mine was one time when everytime I tighten the rubber torniquet, it kept on breaking making it shorter and shorter.haha

Another was when I was done cannulating my dialysis patient and I was about to release the tourniquet, I couldn’t see one because I must have forgotten put it on which I couldn’t For AVF sites, using a tourniquet can be just an option since their veins are visible even without the toruniquet. But patients would tell the the tourniquet lessens the pain.