Fred, one of the nurses from the telemetry floor (for patients who aren't sick enough for the intensive care unit, but still need a continuous heart monitor) is a bit of a legend at my workplace--he can get an IV in anybody.
Now I'm a fairly new nurse, but I've started enough intravenous lines in people to know that some people have good veins, and some people do not. (One's risk for having bad veins goes up in direct proportion to one's age. Every time I have to start an IV on anyone over 65, I wince, because I know I've got a less than 25% chance of getting it in myself.) And some people--especially fair skinned women with red hair--have complete and utter crap for veins. (For some reason known only to God, red headed men have veins that make nurses and plebotomists drool.) I've learned that there's really no point in torturing these poor souls by trying (and failing) to start an IV on them when I can ask a more experienced nurse to do it.
On the last night I worked, between Tammy (the other nurse) and I, we had at least five IVs that went bad and needed to be restarted. And as Cindy's Law (If anything can go wrong, it will, and when you're short staffed and the patients and families are cranky to boot) would have it, they all had lousy veins.
So we wound up calling and asking Fred to come down a lot. He was very gracious, and had much better luck with the process than we did. When we pressed him, he was even kind enough to share some of his tips for starting IVs with us.
"I don't get frustrated when it doesn't work the first time. I keep trying until I get it right."
Now this is a wonderful tip for the rest of life as well. But I bet the fact that the majority of Fred's patients are too sick to care if he has to try four or five times before he gets an IV line started probably helps.