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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Dermal Puncture and Capillary Blood Collection. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Finger Puncture

Procedural Step



Greet and positively identify patient

Always use at least two patient identifiers to ensure positive patient identification.

Never rely on name placards that are placed on or near the patient's bed or crib to identify the patient.

If there is a discrepancy in identification, do not proceed until the discrepancy is resolved.

Explain the procedure

If the patient is a small child, be at eye level when explaining the procedure. Also explain the procedure to the parent(s).

If the patient is aware of what will be happening there is less chance of the patient suddenly jerking away his/her hand when the puncture occurs.

Position patient appropriately

An outpatient who is a small child should sit on the parent's lap. If necessary, seek assistance for finger puncture if the patient is a small child.

Cleanse hands and put on gloves

Use soap and water or alcohol-based gel to cleanse hands. Cleanse hands before donning gloves and after removing gloves.
Warm puncture site if neededUse the method that is approved by the laboratory for prewarming the puncture site.Never use a moist cloth that has been heated in a microwave as this may cause injury to the patient.

Gather appropriate equipment

Only have needed equipment at hand.Keep track of ALL equipment to prevent patient injury.

Cleanse the puncture site

Use 70% isopropanol unless the patient is sensitive to alcohol.Allow the site to air dry. Performing the puncture before the alcohol has dried may hemolyze the blood specimen.

Securely grasp and puncture finger

Puncture the side edge of the fleshy pad of fingertip.Avoid extreme side and tip of finger.

Discard puncture device into appropriate container

Puncture device should be discarded into a sharps container that is puncture-proof, has rigid sides, and has a lid.

Do not discard puncture devices into regular trash or biohazard bags; injury to personnel who handle these bags may occur.

Wipe away the first drop of blood

Use slight pressure to facilitate blood flow.

The first drop of blood contains tissue fluid that may contaminate or dilute the blood specimen and affect test results.

Collect blood into container

Allow blood to flow freely into the collection device. Tap the container gently on a hard surface to move blood further down into the tube if necessary.

Do not "milk" the finger or scrape the collection device across the finger to obtain specimen; both actions may cause the specimen to hemolyze. Mix specimen immediately upon completion of the collection.

Apply pressure to the puncture site to stop the bleeding.

Use gauze to apply pressure to the puncture site.It is not advisable to apply an adhesive bandage over the skin puncture site if the child is less than two years old as the child may place the bandage in his/her mouth.

Label specimen

Specimen must be labeled in the presence of the patient.Unlabeled specimens will be rejected by the laboratory.