Will I get over my discomfort with blood draws?

  1. Like many people, I dislike having my blood drawn. I don't faint or become lightheaded, but the experience gives me the willies. I usually close my eyes when having my blood drawn and think pleasant thoughts.

    I am an EMT and want to improve my employability in hospital settings. I'm thinking about taking a phlebotomy class to see if I can get a job as a phlebotomist, operations tech, or ED Tech. But I don't want to waste the money if performing blood draws is going to make me uncomfortable enough that I make my patients nervous too.

    What are the chances that through training and practice, I'd become comfortable drawing blood on patients? Are phlebotomists just naturally people who don't mind having their blood drawn, or do they dislike it like everyone else, but get used to the idea of doing it on others?

    I do know that phlebotomy students often have to practice on each other once they've "graduated" from a training arm. I don't love the idea of that, but I figure I can tolerate some sticks for a few months until my training is over. Also, as an EMT, I haven't had problems dealing with trauma or blood in general, it's just the idea of having my blood drawn that I don't really like.
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   CP2013
    Quote from Addie Dorgan
    Like many people, I dislike having my blood drawn. I don't faint or become lightheaded, but the experience gives me the willies. I usually close my eyes when having my blood drawn and think pleasant thoughts.

    I am an EMT and want to improve my employability in hospital settings. I'm thinking about taking a phlebotomy class to see if I can get a job as a phlebotomist, operations tech, or ED Tech. But I don't want to waste the money if performing blood draws is going to make me uncomfortable enough that I make my patients nervous too.

    What are the chances that through training and practice, I'd become comfortable drawing blood on patients? Are phlebotomists just naturally people who don't mind having their blood drawn, or do they dislike it like everyone else, but get used to the idea of doing it on others?

    I do know that phlebotomy students often have to practice on each other once they've "graduated" from a training arm. I don't love the idea of that, but I figure I can tolerate some sticks for a few months until my training is over. Also, as an EMT, I haven't had problems dealing with trauma or blood in general, it's just the idea of having my blood drawn that I don't really like.
    Sometimes it's just a "not my blood!!" reaction. I hate having my blood drawn, but handle traumas really well. Blood bothers me far less than sputum or vomit.
  4. by   beingcaitlin
    You will get over it. I'm a phleb and it takes some getting used to but the more experience you get, the more comfortable you will be. I hated getting blood draw prior to becoming a phlebotomist and I don't love it now, but I know the process which makes it more... Comfortable? I guess.
  5. by   vintagemother
    Quote from CP2013
    Blood bothers me far less than sputum
    Sputum bothers me.

    Ew!
  6. by   CP2013
    Quote from vintagemother

    Sputum bothers me.

    Ew!
    Suctioning is the bane of my existence. I cringe every time. Thank goodness I can usually beg someone else to do if I offer to buy lunch. Haha
  7. by   FutureFLRN2014
    I, like you, hate having my blood drawn but I took a phleb class and enjoyed it and had no problem drawing blood on others. We practiced on each other under the direction of my instructor so you might want to find out if that will be part of the class even though you can opt out of that portion (except in our class they wouldn't let you draw on other students if you wouldn't allow them to draw from you).
  8. by   turnforthenurse
    You will get over it, I think. I personally hate having my blood drawn...I hate needles! I always have to look away if I'm getting my blood drawn or anything that involves needles...but if I am drawing someone else's blood, starting someone else's IV or anything that involves a needle, I have no problem with it.
  9. by   UTbsnRN
    I'm the same way, I don't like to have my blood drawn. Its not the actual blood I have a problem with, its the needle in my arm. i don't really have a problem sticking my patients and often my patients compliment on how they never felt a thing and I've only been drawing like three months! During my training, I got stuck by a paramedic with 20+ years of experience and his stick hurt until the next day. The next two girls who stuck me accidentally pulled the needle out while trying to get their sample. The tourniquet was still on and I bled for a few minutes and they left huge bruises. But all in all, the training wasn't bad as the needle is only like a 23 gage!!
  10. by   katfuter
    I hate getting blood drawn as well, but feel completely fine drawing a patient's blood. I used to feel light headed and have fainted once, but ever since a couple years into nursing school I don't get that anymore. I do still generally feel anxious before getting a stick which I know will never go away.
    I'd say your chances of getting comfortable with drawing blood are very good, but you may still always feel uncomfortable getting your own blood drawn. Remember, health care workers are not invincible, we have fears/phobias just like the average person.
  11. by   cdsavannah59
    I was so nervous about doing my first blood draw because our instructor told us that after learning the skill we would do actual blood draws on hospital patients. She stated she would be watching us and on the very first time to stick patient, that after preparation that on the count of one, two, three that we better not show any hesitation, to just go for it. So on clinical day I just knew I would probably miss my mark, but to my surprise, I drew blood on first stick, in fact I was successful in three out of four patients that day on first try. I remember being so proud of myself that day because I had feared I would be the only one in class not successful. In fact I was the first successful student out of four or five of us in the first couple hours then eventually throughout the day other first time blood draw students got theirs on first try. It didn't take but that first try for me to overcome my insecurity of not being able to do it, it just felt natural after that, like it was a job I was good at. Good Luck
  12. by   jkotzan
    Blood has never really bothered me as much as it probably should. I'm an EMT and recently enrolled in a phlebotomy class thinking it would be a great precursor to nursing. We've been drawing on one another since day one - no dummy arms. My advice is to conquer your nerves or you WILL hurt someone. My instructor taught us some great techniques for a painless procedure but some students just don't get it. The barrier to entry in phlebotomy is low so there are going to be people in your class that really shouldn't be there. Honestly, the ones that can't even look at blood getting drawn from their own arms are the ones that tend to be the worst at drawing blood (I have some nasty bruises on my arms to prove it). If you can't stomach getting your own blood drawn the class will be very challenging.
  13. by   Wannabenurseneko
    There are two EMTs in my phlebotomy class, most of the students in our class are scared to take blood, as well as have their blood taken. When I was a child a nurse had to chase me across town to get my blood taken, and now if I need a blood test I'll let them poke me .
    Just think about it this way everyone goes in scared and then get used to it . You will not be the only one who is scared . We haven't gotten to the point where we start taking each other's blood but I'm 100% you'll do fine and I'll do fine

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