Dear Nurse Beth,
I want to be a nurse. However, with my experience as a Medical Assistant and PCT, I am uncomfortable with sticking my patients. Why? Well, I'm afraid that I'll hurt the patient. Common sense - needles hurt. I don't want to miss the vein. Common sense - it will improve with practice. Will I get over this? Are there new nurses just as uncomfortable? This is the only thing that worries me.
Dear Doesn’t Want to Stick a Patient,
Yes, you will get over this. Repetition and practice work to your advantage.
You are not alone in dreading needles sticks. It never feels good to cause someone else pain, but you are actually helping them. Concentrate on mastering your skill and becoming the best IV starter you can be.
The key is not to hesitate as a swift puncture with a sharp hurts less than slowly pushing or drilling the needle in. You will learn to distract your patient, administer an injection or cannulate a vein swiftly and hear them say “I didn’t feel that at all. Are you sure you gave me a shot?”
I bet the nurses here at AN have lots of pro tips for you.
You'll get good at it - then you'll get great. Practice makes perfect. Remember the first time you rode a bike? Drove a car? Wrote a check? Everything takes practice to feel competent. You'd be surprised how little it takes to garner skills.
Rubynurs RN has some great advice: talk to the pt. Distract them. And be real nice … pt's will forgive poor technique if you are friendly. I had a nursing instructor tell us that once. Pt' s will forgive quite a lot if you are nice to them.
And eventually, you'll be friendly and good too.
One piece of advice: when drawing numerous tubes for a pt - find an alternative fulcrum to rest your weight on other than the pt's vein you are drawing from. It's real painful, and leaves a bruise (plus, some pt's will never complain while you're doing it because they feel ackward).
Get practicing! I bet those in your phlebotomy classes would even let you practice on them if you return the favor.
Once in my first year of nursing me and another new RN went in to replace an IV on a pt on the night shift … he and I went over the steps outside the room, went in - and hit an artery! Bam! The flash in the IV needle filled that fast! We removed it, held pressure for 5 minutes, then started over. Got an 18 gauge in the next try. The pt didn't even flinch!
Last edit by Orphan RN on Jul 28, '16