Nausea on the job?? Please help!

  1. Hi 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.

    Please help!


    Nikki in NYC
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    About NikkiJo

    Joined: Mar '11; Posts: 38; Likes: 5
    Registered Nurse


  3. by   klag0915
    i 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!

  4. by   VickyRN
    I 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.
  5. by   Tuesday17
    Nikki 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 :-)

    Good luck!
  6. by   NikkiJo
    Thanks, 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'.
  7. by   HouTx
    We 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.
  8. by   NikkiJo
    hahah great response! thank you, HouTx! I will be sure to refuse "resuscitation on the job"
  9. by   grpman
    The 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.
  10. by   aprilrazz
    Don'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.
  11. by   Double-Helix
    Don'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.
  12. by   NikkiJo
    Thanks so much, everyone, for your comments and the likes. This forum has served as a really helpful tool for me through these bouts of self-doubt. It's so reassuring to know that I am not the stand-out and that all of these things that I am experiencing are just part of the process.
  13. by   Roo.
    Thank you everyone for your comments. I feel alot more confident starting uni next year!

    I am starting a bachelor of paramedicine/Bachelor of Nursing (dual course) next year, and I am so anxious about starting next year-as I have a tiny weakness when it comes to the sight of blood! I have fainted many times in the past because of blood.. I really hope I can get past this!

    I feel am wired to be a paramedic! so very passionate about it. I'd just hate to think that I couldn't do what I feel I've been put on this earth to do because of something I cant control!
  14. by   cocoisis
    Hey NikkiJo,

    I've been following all sorts of PBISN threads for a while. In April I was accepted into the Jan 2014 evening program. I have been trying to locate anyone who is/was in the evening program, but there doesn't seem to be many.
    Anyway, I'm sure you are swamped, but I was hoping you could offer any insight into the evening program. I'm dying to speak with someone first-hand about the challenges.
    Any advice would be great!
    Lastly, I hope your time at PBISN has been a wonderful experience and best wishes on your upcoming graduation!