Needle Fears are going to waste the $30,000+ I spent on TUITION

  1. I am a senior in the College of Nursing at the University of Iowa. I've got one semester left of clases, and one semester left of internship- then I'm out on my own and pray I can find a job that will be compensating of my phobias.

    Sadly, I've always wanted to become a nurse- I was hospitilized at a young age, and always wanted to put myself into the helping role.

    However, I can not stand to hurt patients. Recently, I began fainting anytime I even THINK of venipunctures. I managed to start a few IVs in the past, but ended up blowing the vein on a little frail old lady, and have lost all confidence since! I'm really worried that I won't feel confident in interviews or feel competent enough to perform in a real setting.

    Does anyone have ANY advice? All of my classmates seem to be fine with this sort of thing, or so they say, making me feel even worse about my disposition. Do you think hospitals will expect to invest a fair amount of training in new nurses, or is this something I should be expected to have dealt with on my own by the time I'm hired?

    Any guidance would be much appreciated!!
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  3. by   GingerSue
    can you arrange to do more practicing to overcome your thoughts or feelings?

    to become more skillful and confident

    That's great that you don't want to hurt your patients

    And along with that motivation, by improving your IV skills
    you'll be helping your patients that much more, because
    you'll be learning to avoid hurting them.
  4. by   leslie :-D
    when i was learning iv's, i spent a couple of days in outpt day surgery.
    i felt like a pro at the end of 2 days.
    a much-needed, confidence booster.

    if your hospital has an iv team, see if you can go around w/them.
    or any other unit that does a lot of iv's.
    i'm the one who approached the nm's of the outpt unit.
    but my school of nsg was affiliated w/the hospital.
    it worked out so well.

    best of luck.

  5. by   anc33
    I think a lot of nursing student and new RNs share in your fears. I find that sometimes the problem is complicated by the fact that, in some hospital settings, we do not routinely perform these skills anymore. I too have struggled with my own fears after struggling with IV placement early in my career. Then one day I had a sickler with hardly any good veins left and found that I was the only one on my floor available to put in the IV. I told myself that I had two shots then I would call someone over from another floor. Well, I found one in the foot on the first try. That is all it took to gain my confidence back. Now I feel at ease with difficult sticks. So don't give up now!!! Try some guided imagery, imagine success and then go for it again. Remember, not all of us were good from the get go, it takes a lot of experience and patience to master some of these skills.
  6. by   colleennurse
    When you start a job as a new grad the hospital or your preceptor should not expect you to be a pro or competent at anything. And if the unit you choose is any good they will give you ample time for orientation and let you decide when you are ready. As far as IVs, it takes a lot of practice to be good at them and unfortunately when sticking someone there is a little bit of an ouch involved. And most patients are well aware that there will be poke. I always tried twice and if I could not get the IV in I asked someone else to try. Or if I couldn't find a vein at all I would get someone else. I remember the 1st person I tried to start an IV on was a really young guy and he had pipes for veins. I had no idea what I was doing even though my preceptor was sitting right there. I cried after I left the room, but you have to try again, and eventually you will master the skill! Believe me when you see that flash of blood in that IV catheter it will feel like you just struck gold! Good luck and try not to be so hard on yourself. We all had no clue at one point!
  7. by   Lorie P.
    learning to start iv's is a skill that comes with practice. not everyone that comes straight out of nursing school is able to start iv's or the other skills that are required.

    my very first iv i went to start went like this;

    elderly male pt with great veins, i was confident but as soon as i started to make my stick, he said boo! and i jumped and couldn't even hold my own hand still from shaking so bad. he laughed because he knew i was a student. ok, i braced myself tried a second time and he did the exact same thing again. i lost all my confidence and had a feeling i would never be able to start iv's.

    fast forward to my very own first pt after getting out of school, passing boards. little tiny fraile lady, paper thin skin and veins so tiny that none of my co-workers wanted to try getting an iv site.

    i went in, told her i was going to start an iv and if after 2x i would get someone else. well i was able to get it on 1 stick and she said it was the very first time thatan iv didn't hurt!! so how's that for being confident!!

    now when no one elses wants to start an iv, guess who they call? yep me, i found the only way to keep my skills up is to practice and keep confident.

    i never hurry and take my time. also if for some reason i can't get an iv after 2x. i stop and let someone else try. there are times that i can't get one and you will have days like that everyone does.

    so keep you chin up, and read everything you can find on iv therapy, watch others when they start iv's and above all keep that" i don't want to hurt my pt attitude"

    best of luck and please keep in mind, starting iv's, putting in foley's, ngt are skills that come with practice.

    hope this helps!
  8. by   CVICURN2003
    I work in a CVICU. Ours patients have Quad Lumen Catheters and PICC lines. Very rarely do we have a "regular" IV. And I STINK at starting them. I will BEG someone to start it for me because I will NEVER get it. I can do many other things very well.....IV's are not one of them.

    Sometimes we have to cause our patients a little pain to get them better or not make them worse. We have to turn patients so they won't get ulcers or pnuemonia. We have to start IV's in order for the patients to get a medicine they need to improve/save their life. So, look at it as a means to an end. None of us want to cause our patients pain, but sometimes that is part of the healing process. I say a 100 times a day...."Hug your bear and cough for me!" Even if my patients "get mad" at me, I know I am helping make them better.

    Good luck. No one is born knowing how to be a good nurse.
  9. by   rn undisclosed name
    IVs get easier with time. I never thought that advice would ring true but it does. When I was a student I would feel nauseous watching the IV nurse start an IV on someone. I never thought I would be able to finish nursing school much less start an IV on someone.

    I have only been a nurse for a little over a year. Here are some of my more memorable IV starts::
    (1) A renal pt who they tried to start an IV on 12 times on the night shift. These were much more experienced nurses. Pt wanted her meds and begged me to start an IV on her. I told her I'm not good at doing IVs. She said I don't care just try. Well, I got it on the 1st try.
    (2) A pt who was a direct admission from the doctors office. I didn't have any labs on him. Got his IV on the 2nd try. Got his labs to find out that his INR was over 5.
    (3) Another direct admission had to start 2 IV's on my pt. Got them both on the first try.

    I hate sticking people too. Can't stand to give an IM. When I stick them depending on what I'm giving I will tell them to take a deep breath - it takes their mind off the actual stick and many times won't even feel it. I also tell them "ok you're going to feel a little poke." That way they're ready for it. It does help.

    Keep plugging away. You will overcome your fear.

  10. by   CHATSDALE
    you learned to walk
    you learned to talk
    you learned to read and write
    you learned to drive
    now you can do things without thinking "how am i going to do this?"
    sit down at home in an esy chair, visualize your self going through the procedure
    good luck
  11. by   deeDawntee
    i think you really need to cut yourself some slack here. you have to realize that we all miss iv starts and venipuncture no matter how experienced we are. you are not "harming" your patient. you have to think of the overall good that having that iv does for them (often saving their life) or having labs drawn. everyone misses and that is part of being a patient. our patients do forgive us our misses. your phobias come from when you were a child and getting stuck with a needle was terrifying. it isn't such for most adults. if a few patients get stuck a few extra times so that inexperienced nurses get the experience they need in order to be competent at iv starts, then that is the way it must be. it is part of the process of your education. it may be a bit brutal but that is the way it is in all areas of nursing and medicine for that matter. you will have a lot of time to learn and master these areas when you are a new grad. i would try not to worry so much about them now. some nurses just never get good at it and there are always others around who are more than willing to help you out. i rarely start iv's or do venipuctures (we have teams for both those procedures) and it has never hindered my nursing career whatsoever. i would just let go if it for now, if you can. there are so many more important issues for you to concentrate on at this stage in your nursing development. i have no doubt that it will all work out when you get to that point.

    you will be just fine!!
  12. by   TeresaB930
    I think if you can remind yourself, that, to most people, shots & IVs are more of an inconvenience then a large painful part of their hospital stay. You are making them better.

    Try to focus on this and good luck!!
  13. by   zaggar

    You use the word "phobia" and you say you pass out even thinking about venipuncture. You might have been exaggerating, or you might not have been. If you really are just anxious, then all the above advice is great. But if you feel you have a real phobia, a psychologist can help. Ask one of your instructors who has a psych nursing background what they think.

    Either way, I'll bet you're going to be fine. Your $30,000 won't be wasted.
  14. by   mugwump
    Simply not wanting to hurt a patient can kill them. That is the simple short answer. You are not doing them any favors. I understand not wanting to hurt them. Byt if they are in the hospital and want treatment antibiotics, pain meds they need an iv. Granted it is possible to get a job where "sticking" people doesn't happen but even usually you need some experience and need to be able to start an IV and draw labs, keep practicing talk with your instructer. "Feel the fear and do it anyway" was my instructors motto