Embarrassed

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    I need help with a situation. I am a new nursing student and at the beginning of our clinical orientation a few weeks ago, our clinical group practiced blood glucose monitoring on each other. Well, I almost passed out when we did this. I am not sure what it was because normally the sight of my own blood does not bother me, the prick was not painful at all, and I am a CNA in a hospital and have done this to others about a million times! The same thing happens to me when I have to get blood drawn, I feel like I'm going to hit the floor. I'm worried because soon we are going to be giving each other injections and starting IVs on each other and I'm worried I'm going to keel over every time we go to lab. When we were doing the BGM I tried to contain it to myself so nobody would notice and had to tell myself to calm down and breathe which helped some, but I still got this feeling. Anybody have any words of wisdom as to how to not be like this?
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  3. 8 Comments so far...

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    I don't have any words of wisdom of how to change, but I do now that in our program our teachers will allow those with a significant fear to opt out of being on the receiving end. We had a few students when we were doing injections that just could not let another student give them an injection. In this case another student would go twice (if they volunteer)ed or even the teacher said she would do it in their place. They REALLY had to not be ok about it and not just say they didn't want to do it because they were a little bit uncomfortable. I would sit down with your clinical instructor or whatever instructor you feel will understand and explain how you are feeling. They might be understanding. As long as you can perform the skill I don't see a problem. You don't have to feel ok about getting poked or seeing your own blood to be a good nurse.
    GrnTea likes this.
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    First thing to remember......BREATHE! When you hold your breath you my also bear down stimulating the vagus nerve causing a vasovagal response.......causing your heart rate to drop and pass out. Make sure you BREAHTE! It will get better!

    Among people with vasovagal episodes, the episodes are typically recurrent, usually happening when the person is exposed to a specific trigger. Prior to losing consciousness, the individual frequently experiences a prodrome of symptoms such as lightheadedness, nausea, the feeling of being extremely hot (accompanied by sweating), ringing in the ears (tinnitus), uncomfortable feeling in the heart, fuzzy thoughts, a slight inability to speak/form words (sometimes combined with mild stuttering), weakness and visual disturbances such as lights seeming too bright, fuzzy or tunnel vision, and sometimes a feeling of nervousness can occur as well.

    These last for at least a few seconds before consciousness is lost (if it is lost), which typically happens when the person is sitting up or standing. When sufferers pass out, they fall down (unless this is impeded); and when in this position, effective blood flow to the brain is immediately restored, allowing the person to wake up. Short of fainting a person may experience an almost indescribable weak and tired feeling resulting from a lack of oxygen to the brain due to a sudden drop in blood pressure.

    Vasovagal response - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia as simple but clear explanation.
    bigsick_littlesick likes this.
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    I don't have a magic answer but I do have a few thoughts that may be useful. I know people who have this reaction to the site of blood, but this doesn't seem to be the case with you. I think your fear comes from not being in control. Based on your post it seems to be when others are drawing blood from you, not the site of the blood itself. That it why it doesn't bother you to preform the task, because you are in control. I am not in any way calling you a control freak but seeing your own blood does trigger realizations that we are not invincible. For me the reason behind my emotion helps me deal with them. If you think this may have a part in your reaction perhaps just the knowledge of why you feel this way may help. Also if there are things you can do that help you feel more in control of the situation, like choosing the finger or arm, having the person let you count to three so you know exactly when they are going to start. I don't know if this helps, but I am also a new nursing student and would love it if you would update on how things are working out.
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    Oh, don't feel bad about this AT ALL! You don't have a problem with the sight of blood, you just don't like seeing YOUR blood coming out of you. That's completely normal and will not hinder your nursing career in any way. I know plenty of nurses who hate needles, getting shots, etc. I feel faint just getting my TB test! I just don't like being on the pointy end of the needle. I have no problem with blood (or sticking needles into other people, hah!), but I don't like seeing my own blood or having needles poked into me. No big deal.

    If you have to do this again, I suggest looking away - honestly. Whenever I get blood drawn for a physical, I turn my head and literally put my hand (from the arm not being, er, "worked on") in front of my eyes to cover my peripheral field of vision. Could you try this when you practice IV sticks? Don't look at anything starting before they even take the needle out of the packaging. Also, and I suppose this is a given, make sure you're sitting down. That way, if you do feel faint, at least you won't fall.

    We practiced TB tests on each other in school (though not IMs or IVs) and I felt sick just having that done. You're not alone but you CAN get through this! Good luck. =)
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    Thank you all so much for your wonderful encouraging comments. I had an intense fear of needles as a child, and I think it definitely has to do with having control of the needle. I will keep all of your comments and suggestions in mind as I "man up" and let my classmates stick me Thanks again!
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    I've known many medical professionals who are completely fine giving injections/starting IV/drawing blood/etc on someone else, but still have trouble when it's done to them, so you're not alone at all. Personally, shots and blood draws on me don't bother me at all, but finger sticks? Ugggh, hate them, they freak me out. I have to look away when they do it before donating blood. I can do them on others just fine though. I think it's because I can't watch the actual "cut", so it's probably the same loss of control thing others mentioned - I've annoyed nurses/phlebotomists by insisting on watching while having blood drawn when they wanted me to look away. I don't like surprises.

    Like someone else said, try looking away. Or, if you normally look away, watching may actually help, as backwards as that sounds. Also remind yourself it will be over soon, and remember to breath!

    (Only slightly related, you are so lucky to be in a program that lets you have these experiences while in school. Our first real injections were on patients, they didn't even teach us how to start IVs on models, much less actual people, and the only reasons I was able to do any finger sticks is because I did a semester at one of the few hospitals around that let nursing students do them. I'm jealous that you get to do all those!)
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    Needless to say, medical staff makes the worse patients, since we know what's coming next. Having said that, make sure you're sitting down next time, when you're about to get blood drawn or any other procedure that includes needles. Lastly, you're not the first nor the last, so don't feel bad...as I send you a hug from across the miles...Aloha~
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    happens to me every time. they have to put me in the special chair that leans back to an almost upside down position whenever they give me my yearly TB or any other blood draws. But i function with working in the ICU just fine.

    When you do come to these situations that you can not avoid make sure you are sitting down where you are not going to fall and hurt yourself.
    GrnTea likes this.


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