Nausea on the job?? Please help!
- 0Feb 27, '12 by NikkiJoHi All -
I am a new nursing student, just shy of two months into my program in NYC - Recently, I've learned that although I have never had an issue with the sight of blood or needle sticks in general... I apparently get nauseas and feel extremely dizzy/lightheaded in the presence of such.
In clinical rotation a couple of weeks ago I was part of an assist for a femoral IV blood draw. This consisted of flushing the line twice w/ 10cc saline, drawing 10cc of waste and then pulling out the desired blood for labs. At the point of the 10cc waste blood filling the syringe, I nearly lost it. -- I was able to keep it together on the surface but was honestly concerned that I might pass out as the process continued. I counted about four yawns with in a minute or two towrad the latter part of the draw. -
Naturally, I am concerned. I am so fully dedicated to this program. I absolutely love it and having started it has only further cemented the fact that this is what I want to do with my life. Nursing feels right. I believe in the right person for the right job and I have no doubt I will be able to provide excellent care for patients as well as contribute to a productive environment wherever I wind up working post-schooling --- but right now I just need to figure out how to overcome this physiological reaction I am having. -- I will admit, for a day or two after having experienced this, I was fighting myself mentally over whether or not I am cut out of this job etc. - The stress of the program (I work FT days and attend the school at night) has really put me as well as the bulk of my classmates in an emotionally fragile state, but as mentioned above I am certain this is the right calling....
Any tips or pointers on getting through this stage? -- Any other students care to share their stories with me? Knowing that some others out there experienced the same type of feelings really helps. -- I did come clean to my colleagues and my clinical professor. I thought perhaps by doing so I'd be looked at as a weak-link but I believe the exact opposite is true. Having ignored it would have given the situation negative energy and I want to embrace it for what it is and move forward.
Nikki in NYC
- 0Feb 27, '12 by klag0915i know exactly what you are going through! I am in my 2nd semester in a program in Westchester, and i have already had 3 "episodes"....
The first time - we were viewing a wound care nurse debriding a stage 4 pressure ulcer - bone muscle etc. We were all (7 + instructor + pt + WC nurse) wearing PPE and it was very claustrophobic in the room. I felt it coming on (sweating, dizzy, clammy, nauseous) and excused myself, unfortunately could not find a chair and passed out cold in the hallway. totally embarassing. Had to go to the ER and everything.
2nd time - watching a PICC line insertion. Again wearing PPE as it was a sterile procedure. So this got me thinking that maybe it was claustrophobia wearing the mask/gown etc. doubtful, but im pulling straws....
3rd time - 2 weeks ago. A nurse on the floor asked me if i would like to try to insert an IV on him, of course I enthusiastically said yes. We took out supplies and he gave me a short tutorial and i made it about half way through before telling him i needed to sit down. I then felt better, got up and tried to finish the procedure - shortly again felt ill and this time i woke up on the floor.
I dont know what my problem is, i know i am a "fainter" but i agree with you that this cannot be the reason why I cant make it as a nurse. I have anxiety so i wonder if that has anything to do with it. But I assure you, you are not alone, I have been second-guessing myself and my ability to give the best care possible when this is all happening. I hope its just something that we will become desensitized to at some point and then these will just be "funny stories" of our time in nursing school.
Good luck and if you have any advice please send it my way!
- 2Feb 28, '12 by VickyRN Senior ModeratorI used to be adversely affected (felt very squeamish) by the sight of blood. Many years ago, when someone drew my blood, I actually passed out.
Over the years and with nursing experience, the sight of blood no longer bothers me. It was just something I outgrew with time.
- 0Feb 28, '12 by Tuesday17Nikki you were right in addressing the situation. In my school we were told, not if (we get sick or faint), but when (it will happen and how to deal with it)! They are right. Some students just won't fess up. Honestly, the only thing now that can make me sick is thick, green, sticky, nasty mucus (gagging right now)! We all have our demons! You will be fine! Especially if you love what you are doing :-)
- 0Feb 29, '12 by NikkiJoThanks, all, for your comments. It definitely helps to know that I am not alone in this process. I felt extremely alone when it happened as the remainder of my team were full of color and life - and I was in some sinking place. --- I couldn't help but have a moment of 'woe is me' --- Later on when sharing the situation w/ others many of them said the same thing "maybe you're the only one who admitted it!"...
I am going to press on and hope that I get through this easily enough. -- The truth is that I am even having slight anxiety feelings in my chest/throat just thinking about it. -- I dont want to let it 'beat me'.
- 1Feb 29, '12 by HouTx GuideWe all have our Waterloo. For me (nursing since mud was invented), it's oral/NT suctioning. I was never able to DC an ET or NG tube without a huge case of the "urks". I can deal with anything...event emesis doesn't bother me but just don't make me face any lugies <shudder>
So - don't feel bad. We all go hyper-vagal over something. Just make sure someone has your back, and doesn't let some free range med student try to "resuscitate" you if you faint.
- 0Feb 29, '12 by grpmanThe difference between you and a seasoned nurse is probably just a few thousand needle sticks away. For now, just make it through the next one and it will get easier. The first time my wife called me something terrible, I was bothered for a week. I can now have her say something negative and not even look up while watching football.
- 0Mar 1, '12 by aprilrazzDon't feel bad we all have our crosses to bear. I came in to nursing school having worked as a Corpsman and an EMT. I can see brains lying all over the street or horrific accident scenes and it doesn't bother me.
Poo is my kryptonite. I have no problem smelling it or seeing it but when you combine the two its gag city! I'm slowly getting used to it but it's not easy. I have a grown son and you would think with all the stinky diapers I changed for him I wouldn't have a problem with this. Lately I've just been wearing a mask with an alcohol pad under my nose and it seems to help. The good thing is I'm using it less and less now. You do manage to get used to things and after a while they won't bother you. But it sucks in the meantime! lol
Just hang in there.
- 0Mar 1, '12 by Ashley, PICU RNDon't worry about it too much. It's normal. It doesn't mean you won't be able to handle blood the next time or that you'll get faint during the same procedure again.
When I was a senior nursing student I was helping out with the junior level OB clinical rotation. One of our students passed out while in a patient's room, just talking to her. No blood, body fluids, or anything. Just a healthy postpartum mom and baby. Sometimes it just happens.
Two things to remember:
1. Eat and stay hydrated during your clinical. Make sure you have a good meal before you go in and bring a bottle of water and some snacks like graham crackers with you.
2. If you really feel like you're going to pass out, don't just stay quiet and try to fight it. Speak up and get to a safe place. The last thing that doctors and other nurses need to worry about during a procedure is a nurse that passed out on the floor. Just say, "I'm sorry, I need to step out." or "I need to sit down for a minute."
I'm pregnant, so waves of nausea and dizziness have been quite common the past several weeks. There have been times when I've had to step away from the bedside and go sit down or get something to drink. It's really okay to say you need to step away. It's much better then finding yourself sprawled out on the floor next to your patient.