Operation STICK: A vascular access specialty program for the generalist emergency medicine clinician.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

The journal of vascular access


OBJECTIVE: Comprehensive education and training programs are urgently needed to improve vascular access outcomes in the emergency department (ED). This study aimed to demonstrate the success of a formalized vascular access program in developing competent ED clinicians in traditional and ultrasound-guided insertion methods.

METHODS: This was a retrospective observational study exploring the success of trainees in obtaining competency in peripheral vascular access at an academic suburban ED with 120,000 annual visits. Eligible participants included healthcare workers that enrolled in the Operation STICK vascular access program and perform vascular access procedures as an aspect of their clinical practice. Competency in vascular access included both traditional and ultrasound-guided (US) peripheral intravenous catheter (PIVC) insertions. Competency was defined as demonstration of successful insertion of one traditional and one US PIVC in compliance with checklist. The primary objective was competency. Secondary objectives included trainee time to competency, trainee number of line encounters, and changes in program competency achievements over time.

RESULTS: From October 15, 2021, to April 15, 2023, 141 clinicians participated in peripheral vascular access training via the Operation STICK model, which included 72 (51.1%) nurses, 52 (36.9%) ED technicians, and 17 (12.0%) healthcare personnel with other medical training. Clinicians overall reported an average of 5.6 years of experience inserting peripheral intravenous catheters (PIVCs) and 23 (16.3%) had experience with using ultrasound. About 122 (86.5%) clinicians successfully completed the program and demonstrated competency in traditional and ultrasound-guided techniques. Time to competency varied over time, with a median of 124 days in the early phase, 32.5 days middle phase, and 10.6 h over 9.5 days in the later phase of the program (

CONCLUSIONS: Achieving competency in PIVC insertion necessitates a focused effort on refining and systematizing education and training approaches. Recognizing the inherent challenges present in ED settings, it is feasible to effectively and efficiently train emergency clinicians to be expert in both basic and advanced PIVC placement techniques through participation in a well-organized vascular access training program.

First Page




PubMed ID