I almost fainted.

  1. I've been a CNA for 3 years in long-term care, and prior to working as a CNA I worked as an OR aide. I've seen my fair share of things and don't consider myself to be a squeamish person. I've recently started working at a hospital on the ortho/medsurg overflow unit and one night I had just returned from my lunch break when I heard a patient's continuous pulse ox going off and went in to check on them. This patient had gotten confused and had pulled out the IV site placed in their jugular vein. I called a nurse and another CNA in immediately, and grabbed some gloves to apply pressure.

    The nurse estimates that the patient lost about half a liter of blood, and the bleeding was controlled quickly. I was perfectly fine until we had to start turning the patient to get them cleaned up. Blood had pooled behind the patient and all the linens were soaked. That's when I started feeling it. I felt a rush of heat, my legs felt weak... Luckily, another CNA came in to see what was going on and I asked if she could take over for me. I had a few crackers, washed my face, and I managed to walk it off.

    Has anyone had similar experiences when they first started out at a hospital? Is there anything I can do on my part to prevent this from happening? I'm more embarrassed than anything, but my coworkers were really supportive and said I'd get used to it.
    Last edit by thewhitechickoj on Mar 12 : Reason: Spelling error.
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   Ruby Vee
    Are you pregnant? Serious question -- I've worked with more than one nurse who didn't realize she was pregnant until smells or sights that had never bothered her before suddenly made her feel faint . . . or queasy. I had the same experience many, many years ago when I came to work hung over and a patient's wound that had never bothered me before suddenly made me feel faint AND queasy. I had a similar episode when I'd just been started on some new medication.

    If neither of those is an issue, then I'd say your co-workers may be right. You'll get used to it. Taking slow, deep breaths helps, and concentrating on the center of your vision (when you get that "receding in a tunnel feeling) helps as well. You'll probably have your own stress-release method of choice.
  4. by   thewhitechickoj
    I'm not pregnant. However, I know this because I had to take a pregnancy test before getting my Mirena IUD placed a couple weeks ago. Perhaps the hormones from the IUD played a part in it? Whatever it may have been, I hope it doesn't happen again. I suppose I do just need to adjust to the hospital environment and its patients. This past rotation went by without incident.
  5. by   funtimes
    When i worked as an ED tech i would occassionally encounter this. The thing most likely to cause it was helping a doc or PA suture a wound. Im not sure why this exactly would cause it. I guess it was the combination of blood, gore, needles piercing skin and standing still for a long time, and it would only happen randomly.

    Starting IVs or drawing blood never affected it. I also noticed if i was moving around it wouldnt happen, regardless of how much blood or gore was involved. It was a combination of standing still in an awkward position and the sight of blood and tissue.

    Staying well hydrated and making sure i ate before my shift was important.
    Last edit by funtimes on Mar 18
  6. by   Double-Helix
    I’ve felt woozy on a couple separate occasions over the years that required that I step out of the room to collect myself. One that I remember pretty clearly- I was assisting with sedation for removal and replacement of an arm implant. The room was warm, I hadn’t had much to eat or drink that day, and I was standing next to the bed while the surgeon was having some trouble getting to the implant. He was digging and twisting, and the blood and the way the skin was moving just turned my stomach for some reason.

    I’m wondering if something about how you were standing while you held pressure contributed to how you felt when you started turning the patient. Were you standing in the same place the whole time? Did you maybe have your knees locked?
  7. by   thewhitechickoj
    Hydration and my posture... Honestly, those are all factors I had never thought of, but am surely going to be much more aware of now! I feel slightly silly, because I just finished A&P at school and remember how the immobilization from locking your knees can cause someone to become lightheaded and faint. I work night shift (1830-0700) and am one of those coffee/energy drink junkies. I need to ease up on the caffeine and drink more water. I was awkwardly hovering over the patient from the other side of the bed applying pressure while the nurse readied his supplies and contacted vascular access. Even if neither of these were the culprit, they aren't bad practices to fall into.

    Thank you, everybody for your input and advice. I really appreciate it.
  8. by   prmenrs
    When I was a student, I got dizzy and "fainty" a couple of times. Both times I was having my period, and had severe cramps. I was observing a procedure both times. I do better if I'm not observing, but doing. Also, sounds can gross me out--once I was scrubbed in on a nose job.

    With experience, fainty stuff went away. Most of the time, I was too busy to feel woozy. This, too, shall pass!

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