A Nurse with Vasovagal Syncope Syndrome?

  1. Hello everyone. I have been checking out this site for several months now and have decided to post and join the community. I will be attending a BSN program for Nursing starting in just a few months. I have completed my nursing prereqs and will be starting to take nursing classes at this time.

    I need advice because I think I have a problem-- the last couple of times I have had my blood drawn, I have fainted. I was sitting both times. I was also known to faint at the sight of my own blood when I was younger (so my Mother tells me). I have never fainted at the sight of anyone ELSE's blood. I see blood frequently at my job and it does not bother me the way that it bothers me to have my OWN blood drawn. I believe I may have Vasovagal Syncope Syndrome.

    My question for this post is-- is it okay for a future Nurse (hopefully) to have Vasovagal Syncope problems? I have to have my blood drawn for school in a few weeks and this time I am very scared because one of the nurses at my nursing school will be taking my blood and I am ashamed to faint in front of my own nursing school nurse! How will this affect my nursing if I'm scared to even have my own blood drawn?

    Also, does anyone know of ways to overcome Vasovagal Syncope Syndrome? I only seem to faint when having blood drawn- but sometimes other needles do bother me a little also.

    Thankyou for your help.
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   TiffyRN
    Many have certain things that just bother them. I cannot see the needle enter my body, I don't mind the pain, just can't watch the needle go in. I do get all pale and faint though I never actually passed out. Now that I know my trigger I do just fine. Maybe you can let the person drawing your blood know and they can let you sit for a few minutes after the blood draw. Hey, try not looking at the procedure, who knows maybe it will help you?

    Also remarkably I have a little problem watching other nurses stick patients, it bothers me though doesn't really make me faint. I don't have any problems at all doing the sticking I guess because I am focused on the task at hand.
  4. by   adnstudent2007
    Quote from Always Smiling
    Hello everyone. I have been checking out this site for several months now and have decided to post and join the community. I will be attending a BSN program for Nursing starting in just a few months. I have completed my nursing prereqs and will be starting to take nursing classes at this time.

    I need advice because I think I have a problem-- the last couple of times I have had my blood drawn, I have fainted. I was sitting both times. I was also known to faint at the sight of my own blood when I was younger (so my Mother tells me). I have never fainted at the sight of anyone ELSE's blood. I see blood frequently at my job and it does not bother me the way that it bothers me to have my OWN blood drawn. I believe I may have Vasovagal Syncope Syndrome.

    My question for this post is-- is it okay for a future Nurse (hopefully) to have Vasovagal Syncope problems? I have to have my blood drawn for school in a few weeks and this time I am very scared because one of the nurses at my nursing school will be taking my blood and I am ashamed to faint in front of my own nursing school nurse! How will this affect my nursing if I'm scared to even have my own blood drawn?

    Also, does anyone know of ways to overcome Vasovagal Syncope Syndrome? I only seem to faint when having blood drawn- but sometimes other needles do bother me a little also.

    Thankyou for your help.
    I'm a fainter also. Not just getting my blood drawn but almost whenever I get any type of shots or really unusually stressed. However, I am in my third semester of my ADN program and haven't fainted at all, and I've been giving injections, hanging blood, and even watching a surgery up close. I've noticed that keeping my eyes open, talking and even hitting or pinching my leg (I'm sure that looks weird!) helps if I even think fainting may be a possibility. I've also noticed that if I worry about fainting, I'm more likely to actually faint--the worry about fainting is worse than the event (blood draws, shots, etc).

    I hope that helps. (Oh, I also remember a cardiologist once told me that HE faints when he gets blood drawn too! It made me feel a whole lot better!)
  5. by   Always Smiling
    Oh wow- that makes me feel so much better so far! I guess I always thought that nurses and doctors had to be born with "iron stomachs" and steady hands and nervous systems and all that, lol.

    The funny thing was, the last 2 times I passed out when having my blood drawn, I never even once looked at the needle or my own blood! I just felt it being done. I was just looking straight ahead and chit-chatting with the nurses and the next thing I knew, they were waking me up.

    On a related note, do nursing students practice drawing blood and starting IVs on one another during nursing school? I guess that could be a good or a bad thing, lol. Either I'll HAVE to get used to it quick or I'll end up passing out every Thursday in clinicals haha.

    Thanks for your posts so far.
  6. by   adnstudent2007
    Quote from Always Smiling

    On a related note, do nursing students practice drawing blood and starting IVs on one another during nursing school? I guess that could be a good or a bad thing, lol. Either I'll HAVE to get used to it quick or I'll end up passing out every Thursday in clinicals haha.

    Thanks for your posts so far.
    It depends on your school. At my school, we do not do any blood drawing or IV starts at all. They tell us we learn that stuff after we graduate. But other schools in the country do teach it . I am so glad that we don't have to practice that stuff on each other. I would spend the whole semester unconscious!!!
  7. by   RunnerRN
    Quote from Always Smiling
    Oh wow- that makes me feel so much better so far! I guess I always thought that nurses and doctors had to be born with "iron stomachs" and steady hands and nervous systems and all that, lol.

    The funny thing was, the last 2 times I passed out when having my blood drawn, I never even once looked at the needle or my own blood! I just felt it being done. I was just looking straight ahead and chit-chatting with the nurses and the next thing I knew, they were waking me up.

    On a related note, do nursing students practice drawing blood and starting IVs on one another during nursing school? I guess that could be a good or a bad thing, lol. Either I'll HAVE to get used to it quick or I'll end up passing out every Thursday in clinicals haha.

    Thanks for your posts so far.
    All we did in nursing school was blood sugar sticks and flu shots - and the flu shots were optional.
  8. by   RNAnnjeh
    Don't worry. I faint when I have my blood taken as well. Now I just make sure to tell the person before s/he starts and they usually ask me to lie down. I have no problem with IV starts, etc, if they are on other people. Over the past 10 or so years of nursing, I've learned that anything to do with eyes makes me want to pass out.....so I do my best to stay away from that sort of stuff.

    RNAnnjeh
  9. by   dano
    I've got it as well, except mine's much worse. I had a positive tilt-table test back in summer and have fainted numerous times over the last three years. Mine is related to elevated BP and HR. I'm on proamatine for it, I couldn't deal with the orthostatic hypotension of a beta-blocker.

    I've never yet heard of anyone being prescribed beta-blockers or similar just for syncope related to the sight of blood.

    I would say try and relax as much as possible before you get your blood drawn, it MAY help. Eat your favorite breakfast, get a full 8 hours rest, have someone else drive you to the blood drawing (we all know driving elevates your HR lol). They're all isolated events, and it's good than you don't faint at the site of other people's blood. It stinks, but at least you don't get your blood drawn all that often.

    Good luck to you!
    Last edit by dano on Oct 17, '06
  10. by   Euphrosyne7
    Hi:

    I have the same problem and have fainted numerous times...even while at the dentist's office.........however, I am going to be graduating in December, and thus far have not fainted while at clinicals or while working as a student nurse intern.

    At first, I was extremely nervous about fainting, particularly while working with blood, but I have found that I am now able to take blood, work with a nurse hanging blood, etc., without any problems for the most part. Once in awhile I will get a little lightheaded. I notice this is when I haven't eaten anything so be sure to eat......and if you are feeling lightheaded, take a two minute break and refocus. Also try to control your breathing....use stomach breathing; I find this helps.

    As for when you are getting your own blood drawn, ask for a cold icepack to put on your neck.......since I started doing this, I have not fainted while my own blood is being taken. It seems to work better than if I am lying down.

    I think you will do fine........the other thing is that the more exposure you get to "things that might make you feel faint", the more desensitized you will get.

    Good luck!
    Carla
  11. by   Always Smiling
    Thank you all - your experiences are all VERY inspirational. It is nice to hear firsthand that you can be desensitized to some of this stuff and become more comfortable with experience. I was thinking that I will go donate blood next weekend to "practice." Plus, it is a great help to those who need the blood. I think part of my fear of having my blood drawn is my fear of passing out again and causing a commotion. So if I get more comforable with it in my mind, maybe I will learn to be less queasy when having it done.
  12. by   Always Smiling
    Quote from adnstudent2007
    I am so glad that we don't have to practice that stuff on each other. I would spend the whole semester unconscious!!!
    :yeahthat: LOL.
  13. by   ICURN_NC
    I have this... passed out a few times. Once I got pregnant and was told I'd need blood drawn regularly, I thought I'd die. However, I've learned that laying down while having my blood drawn keeps me from fainting.

    And doing things to patients has never been an issue for me.

    I think you'll be fine, good luck!
  14. by   cotzoo
    One of the nurses I used to worked with,former marine came to our unit one day for some small procedure,while getting an IV started he had a 5 sec pause.I wasn't actually there but the tele strip stayed on the bulletin board for a long time for everybody to seeIt can happen to anyone!
    Good luck to you!

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