Having a major confidence crisis. Need advice

  1. I recently took on a per diem job as a PCT, basically for the summer. Part of my duties is to do the blood draws. At our facility, you have to get 25 blood draws before you can come off of orientation and there is no special training. It's a watch and do thing. At 4am when those blood orders come off the computer from the lab, I begin to freak out because I'm just not getting the hang of it and there are 15 patients with blood orders. After working 6 shifts, I only have something like 9 successful attempts documented. My preceptors just wind up taking over the task from me because we have time management issues. It makes me shut down altogether. My brain goes into blank mode. I want to quit my job as a PCT but what kind of a nurse am I going to make if I run from pressure? I'm sorry I took this job but, now that I have it, what should I do? Should I confide in the DON? Should I practice with oranges? Does this mean I'll never get the hang of getting into a vein?

    If I'm going to quit a job, I don't want it to be because of a lack of competence or confidence. I"m so upset, I cry after these shifts and the anxiety builds before each one. Am I alone with this fear/problem?
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   PCGrad06
    i think you need to take your time and take it one at a time. sure there is pressure to get it done but remember you are new at it. i have not started get so i will not say it's easy because i do not know. but when i went to the nursing home, i had these little old people laughing at me they said "i can do it faster than that" :chuckle i laugh too now but at the time i kept thinking i am not cut out to do this job. it took me 45 mins to shower a patient. when they are normally finished in 15 tops! but the 2nd day i was more organized and this helped but i was more at ease with what i had to do. i was focused. talk to your boss and explain you feel overwhelmed by the mass number of people to draw blood from. i am sure they will have soom advice for you too. you are not the first new person on the job.they had to be taught too. i say take your time and gain your confidence and speed will soon follow. best of luck to you!
  4. by   LauraLou
    It's a vicious circle, you get nervous, then you can't make the stick, this make you more nervous, so you are even more likely to miss it the next time. It makes you want to quit just to escape the anxiety.

    My suggestion would be to ask if you can come in on your own time and have someone walk you through the process of a blood draw, when there are no time constraits to add to the pressure. If you could do several successful draws under more relaxed conditions, it would boost your confidence and lower your anxiety level.

    Good luck and I know you can do it!
  5. by   Carolanne
    Try not to be too hard on yourself. You're new at it, you don't have it down pat yet. I agree with above poster, speak with your supervisor and explain your concerns. I'm sure you're not the first person to feel this way. And by expressing your concerns, you will come across as conscientious and willing to learn. This is a valuable asset to any employer. Some people could care less whether they get it right or not. Try to relax and it will click with time and practice.
  6. by   Bailarina
    I was in the same position when I was a nurse extern while in nursing school. I actually broke down and cried one night during the 4am blood draws because I felt so incompetent. The only thing that helped me was practice, and it took me a while! But just remember nobody is born knowing how to perform clinical skills. I know it's frustrating, but keep your head up and keep trying, and reassure yourself this is great practice and learning, by the time you finish school and become an RN, you will be a pro at blood draws! :wink2:
  7. by   wonderbee
    This is why I love this board. I really needed the support. Believe me, I was really down when I came home from work this morning. Thank you so much for the advice.

    On Tuesday, I will speak with my DON and confront this issue together with her. This is a training issue and I need more training. Not everyone can learn venipuncture under the time constraints and the pressure in the given situation. I clearly need more practice. Perhaps she has some suggestions. I have one or two of my own. If she does not agree with me, at least I took responsibility for my own training and if I go, it's not because I'm a quitter.
  8. by   CardioTrans
    Dont give up. Drawing labs takes practice, practice, practice. And you probably are not going to be good at it in just a few shifts. And guess what, even yrs from now you will have "off" days where you cant get it then either. I have been drawing labs for yrs and there are still days that no matter how much the vein is there, I cant do the stick. And trust me, I am tons better at doing venipuncture than I am at starting IVs. Dont ask me why, same principle, but I can usually stick someone and get their blood for labwork, more than I can start their IV.
  9. by   Nurse-o-Matic
    Quote from RNKittyKat
    On Tuesday, I will speak with my DON and confront this issue together with her. This is a training issue and I need more training. Not everyone can learn venipuncture under the time constraints and the pressure in the given situation. I clearly need more practice. Perhaps she has some suggestions. I have one or two of my own. If she does not agree with me, at least I took responsibility for my own training and if I go, it's not because I'm a quitter.
    It sounds like you've got a good grasp on things and a plan to make things move along smoothly. I'm sure you're going to do a great job. A few weeks from now you'll probably be doing blood draws faster than a vampire!!! :chuckle

    Good Luck!
  10. by   moonchild20002000
    I know you are feeling stressed now but hang in there.
    Older folks can be much harder to stick than a younger person.
    You may want to try using a Butterfly needle,they are much smaller and well suited for the elderly.
    When you are doing your stick just take a deep breath and go slowly,step by step.
    I think a lot of us have been where you are now,just keep yourself focused and practice as much as you can.
    The more sticks you do the more confident you will feel.
  11. by   Altra
    Hang in there, RNKittyKat,

    I think the suggestion of talking w/your supervisor, preceptor, or DON is a good one. Another thing that occurred to me was talking with one of your instructors - maybe they'd be willing to work with you in the lab or something?

    At my school we don't do venipuncture until the critical care class next year - it's an intense 8-week rotation and I'm worried that it won't be enough time to get that skill down. We'll see ...

    Good luck to you!
  12. by   wonderbee
    Today I met with my DON and another RN friend in management and expressed my concerns over the blood draw issue. They were both extremely helpful and went out of their ways to make me feel at ease about the whole thing. We made arrangements to get me extra practice where all I have to concern myself with is drawing blood. She also set me up with a phlebotomy class offered at the hospital. This will all work out and I hope to be a right proper vampire in due time.

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