When you draw blood for arterial blood gas determinations, you usually place a finger on either side of the point where the needle will enter, locate the artery, and simultaneously stabilize loose superficial tissue.
If you miss the artery, however, don’t subject the patient to one or more blind probes.
Instead, leave the needle in place. Lightly palpate laterally and medially to the needle until you locate the artery. Then withdraw the need until the tip is just below the skin surface, adjust the direction of insertion, and you will pierce the artery.