student with vasovagal problems

  1. I am a nursing student in my final semester and realize that I have a problem. Sometimes, not always, I have a vasovagal reaction to watching some venapuncture-type procedures. This past weekend I was watching a dialysis shunt insertion and I suddenly got that feeling of lightheadedness, nausea and the need to sit down. I found my way to the other side of the room and found a chair and was ok after sitting a little while. How the heck am I going to be a nurse when this happens on occassion? Is there anything I can do to end the epidose when I begin to feel symptoms besides leave the scene? Anyone else have such issues?
    Any input would be greatly appreciated!
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    About pabrocc

    Joined: Sep '10; Posts: 2; Likes: 1

    11 Comments

  3. by   Amy10BSN
    hi! i graduated in may and have a similar problem but sometimes it just happens randomly. What I did was get a pair of ted hose which really help with venous blood return, dont stand with knees locked to long (shift your weight if you're standing in one place for a while), and drink plenty of water. Otherwise I would get expose to watching the things to making your nauseous and it wont bother you so much anymore.
  4. by   cb_rn
    Hey! I have the same thing and its not because I'm weak-stomached. I get hot all over (usually very cold natured) and my ears ring. And it's happened in pregnancy and when I'm not, when I'm doing something simple like getting report or admitting a patient and then when I'm heavily involved in something like once when I was stabalizing an arm for an IV nurse putting in a PICC (passed out cold) and once in the OR when we were just prepping a patient with clippers and the very worst time when I was about a week from delivering my son when I was watching an epidural insertion. Everyone was positive it was from watching the needle but that didn't phase me, I was sure I had a tumor or something.

    I have been evaluated by doctors that suggest drinking more, sitting more, and basically telling me there is nothing I can do to prevent these episodes. I finally got diagnosed with Vit D deficiency and started taking b12 SL and it has helped tremendously. I can't remember the last time this happened anymore, it was at least 8 months ago.

    Now I take report sitting and then do walking rounds with her afterward so we aren't standing in one spot for 20 minutes talking. Also, if I'm doing an admission interview, I pull up a chair and sit at the computer and tell the patient that I do it because I get dizzy staring at the screen (a mild exaggeration) and I've never had anyone give me any kind of guff.
  5. by   Sun0408
    It has happened to me about 5 times in the last 18 years.. Never know why and none of them involved nursing, needles or blood.. All my blood work has come back normal. The last episode happened last thursday. I was standing in line waiting to order lunch, passed out then once I came to; and then off to the bathroom to throw up..

    I know when mine are coming on, so I do sit down. Some say it is a lack of blood flow to the brain so maybe putting your head down might help. If you have a warning.
  6. by   LouisVRN
    Are you sure you aren't pregnant?

    This happened to me my first semester in nursing school, while at a LTC, helping a guy eat an egg sandwich, I had to book it into the hall and sit with my head between my knees to avoid losing my lunch and or passing out. Just so happens my teacher, an ob nurse, comes around the corner and helps me to sit in the lobby and gives me a drink and asks if I could be pregnant. Of course not I'm on the pill I tell her, so we chalk it up to being hot and my being dehydrated. About 4 weeks later no monthly visitor, thinking I'm just stressed with nursing school I take a test to put my mind at ease and well needless to say it wasn't what I expected. Pretty much throughout my first 2 trimesters it would come and go. The worst was while we were doing outpatient psych often with the homeless. I remember going to visit this guy who was on probation and being followed by a counselor and he was sitting outside on a lawn chair and I remember having to kneel in the dirt to avoid passing out. I hope it came across that I just wanted to sit so I could feel more engaged, but either way better than faiting or puking in front of him.
  7. by   Sun0408
    For me Louis V, I know I am not pregnant.. Not sure about the others tho..
  8. by   noyesno
    I'm a nursing student with the same problem. So far, I'm averaging one fainting episode per semester (and I'm in my last semester now). I know it is something I can get over with repeated exposure to the triggers.

    The triggers are such weird things too. Like observing surgery does not bother me but observing someone squeezing a finger after a finger prick make me all sweaty and grossed out.

    I'm interested to hear some fainting-prone nurse success stories or tips.
  9. by   pabrocc
    Thank you all so much for the input! You have made me feel that I'm not a freak. I think I will have to watch some intense needle stick type videos to try to get over it as well as make sure I am especially well hydrated as that is a problem for me on any given day. I definately don't drink as much as I should!

    I'll let you know how I do! Good luck to all of you!

    PS - No - I'm 46 years old and definately NOT pregnant!
  10. by   realnursealso/LPN
    Just a thought, here's what happens to me. As long as I am activly involved in the procedure, I am fine. But, when observing it still happens to me. The last time it happened, a child had been struck by a car while riding her bike. I stopped to see if I could help. The person with her said 911 had been called and that they could handle it. While standing there I noticed she had a nasty cut on her forehead. It was oozing blood, I started watching her head, I started to feel dizzy. I heard the ambulance coming, so I got in my car and left, the dizzy went away. The first time was while I was a student, I was observing a spinal tap. Wowsa, dizzy, lightheaded. I had to go out in the hall to sit down. I have had no problems while performing care in all my 30 years of being a nurse, I just can't watch. Maybe this is what is wrong with you?
  11. by   TerpGal02
    You are not alone. I have had vasovagal responses frequently when I have blood drawn/IV's/injections and such and really was worried about that going into NS. I couldnt even WATCH people getting any procedure involving needles. What I did was force myself to go onto youtube, sitting in a nice comfy chair and watch venipunctures/IV starts until it didnt bother me to watch them anymore. I was a little shaky giving my first injection (thankfully it was to a just delivered newborn, hopefully little guy will have no memory of it LOL) but it was OK.
  12. by   CaliLvr000
    Don't feel alone, it happens to me too! I am in my last semester of NS doing my senior capstone in the OR so you can get through it! I have never actually passed out, but have been very close many times. Sweaty, nauseous, the curtain is closing feeling. For me, in those first few semesters, I think it was also related to low blood sugar. I have learned to grab a snack whenever possible, never lock your knees, and try to take some deep breaths if you start feeling that anxiety rising. I also recently got compression stockings and they are awesome. Hang in there!
  13. by   TerpGal02
    Quote from CaliLvr000
    For me, in those first few semesters, I think it was also related to low blood sugar. I have learned to grab a snack whenever possible, never lock your knees, and try to take some deep breaths if you start feeling that anxiety rising. I also recently got compression stockings and they are awesome. Hang in there!
    Yup we were def told this in OB over the summer in the event we would be called in to watch a c-section. Our instructors kept reminding us to make sure we ate breakfast before coming to clinical because they didnt want anyone passing out on the OR floor LOL

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