Almost passed out during clinicals!!

  1. I'm a second year nursing student, and am
    currently in my med surg rotation at clinicals. The hospital I'm in now is much more exciting and learning oriented than the previous hospital I had been in. That being said, I'm seeing a lot more than I ever have. Yesterday, I was watching a nurse remove a catheter from a patient's jugular vein in the cardiac step-down unit. I was ok at first, but as she was putting pressure on the neck I started to feel dizzy. I tried to think about other things and looked away from the patient, but that didn't help. I began to fall over and almost blacked out. Luckily my friend was standing next to me and got me in a chair before that happened. I had one of those ensure nutrition drinks and a few scoops of cereal pre-clinical, and only had 3 hours of sleep, but I think the actual removal was what made me faint. Afterwards, one of the nurses was smirking at me and said something like "idk, that's like a sailor being afraid of water." This obviously didnt help my confidence at all as I was already second guessing myself. Has anyone else ever experienced something like this?? Is there hope to get over it? I'm just scared it will keep happening..
    Last edit by fm1089 on Feb 8, '13
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    About fm1089

    Joined: Nov '12; Posts: 18; Likes: 10


  3. by   prmenrs
    It's happened to most of us, esp in nsg school. I blacked out once, felt "wierd" a couple time. Menstrual cramps contributed to my episodes, but, really, I think every nurse has something that s/he gritts their teeth to get thru, even if they don't go down anymore.

    Don't worry about it. If you feel dizzy, try to sit down and/get out of the room. If you're really gonna faint, fall away from the sterile field! If you can't pass out when you're a student, when can you?

    If it keeps happening, you probably need to go to your HCP, but my hunch is you'll do fine.
  4. by   nurseprnRN
    Do not rely on caffeine and sugar to get you through the day, especially after inadequate sleep. Would you teach this to your patient?
    The fastest way to pass out is to do a Valsalva (hold your breath and push against a closed glottis). Most folks who do what you did haven't noticed that's what they're doing. Breathe.
    Remember the patient is the one with the disease (one of the Fat Man's Laws).
  5. by   fm1089
    It makes me feel better knowing that I'm not alone in my experience. It was embarrassing and made me feel like I won't be able to handle anything. Next clinical I'll be more prepared, especially in the sleeping and eating department. I told the nurse who was smirking/laughing at me that I want to observe every catheter he has to remove, hopefully I'll eventually be able to tolerate it with more exposure.
  6. by   Jill2Shay
    I'm relatively squeamish... I plan on carrying smelling salts with me just in case I start to feel woozy. I'm OK with puking sometimes.

    You don't have control over your psysiological repsonses, you can just do what you need to do to get over it.