Almost passed out during clinicals!!

  1. I'm a second year nursing student, and am currently in my med surg rotation at clinicals. The hospital I'm in now is much more exciting and learning oriented than the previous hospital I had been in. That being said, I'm seeing a lot more than I ever have. Yesterday, I was watching a nurse remove a catheter from a patient's jugular vein in the cardiac step-down unit. I was ok at first, but as she was putting pressure on the neck I started to feel dizzy. I tried to think about other things and looked away from the patient, but that didn't help. I began to fall over and almost blacked out. Luckily my friend was standing next to me and got me in a chair before that happened. I had one of those ensure nutrition drinks and a few scoops of cereal pre-clinical, and only had 3 hours of sleep, but I think the actual removal was what made me faint. Afterwards, one of the nurses was smirking at me and said something like "idk, that's like a sailor being afraid of water." This obviously didnt help my confidence at all as I was already second guessing myself. Has anyone else ever experienced something like this?? Is there hope to get over it? I'm just scared it will keep happening..
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    About fm1089

    Joined: Nov '12; Posts: 18; Likes: 10


  3. by   rnay312
    I have a similar story. I was a nursing student watching a vaginal hysterectomy, wearing all the surgical garb. The nurse I was assigned to told me if I start to feel faint to just sit in a chair against the wall and she'd get me a cold washcloth. I was too confident and told her it wouldn't be a problem - I had been so excited to finally watch a surgery! Lo and behold, ten minutes in things were going blurry and I felt very lightheaded. I told her, sat in the chair and she got a washcloth. I was fine after a few minutes.

    Now instead if saying some snarky comment like, "That's like a sailor being afraid of water," everyone in the room did what they could to make me feel better. The surgeon laughed and the anesthesiologist told me he actually fainted his first day.

    I wouldn't worry too much about it. I used to be nauseas while cleaning up poop, and to this day I cannot watch needles injected into skin on TV. However, I give babies vaccines every day at work and frequently start and D/C patients' IVs. It's so different when you're doing those things yourself. You're more focused on getting the task done right instead of the whole "blood and guts/this is gross" thing. You don't really have time to feel faint.

    That nurse was not right to make that comment. It's hard enough being a student; no need for kicking low confidence levels when they are already down!

    All the best.
  4. by   SwansonRN
    I almost passed out my first day at my internship. I was helping a nurse with a patient who had several stage 4 pressure ulcers. I now work on that unit. It literally happens all the time don't let it get to you.
  5. by   fm1089
    You have no idea how much better you just made me feel. Thank you for sharing your story! No one in my clinical group has experienced feeling faint yet so I felt kind of alone in my experience. I actually asked the nurse who made that comment to find me whenever he has a catheter to pull so I can continue to watch and get used to it--that threw him for a loop haha. Thanks again!!!
  6. by   champagnesupeRNova
    You're definitely not alone. Check out this long thread about everyone's fainting experiences!

    Fainting... so dramatic
  7. by   kakamegamama
    What a rude response by that nurse! But, kudos to you for your response in asking for more! Don't worry at all about your experience. I remember having to leave the OR as a student once during an amputation revision. I think my green face above the blue mask clued the nurse in... I also got lightheaded when my daughter had to have her foot stitched up after stepping on a mollusk shell.....and, I had been a RN for years when that happened!!! I still have a hard time handling snot.....
  8. by   healthstar
    I had the same exact problem in clinicals! I would feel dizzy with blood draws( only when it took forever to draw bc there was no good return), when central lines were removed, when I saw my first c section, anything involving cuts and blood!!! I would feel so damn dizzy I had to sit, It was embarrassing ! Guess what?! I have seen so many c sections, changed so many dressings( big wounds, have removed picc lines, so many blood draws!!! So I discovered when I do things myself I don't feel dizzy, when I see others do It i felt dizzy , nowI can handle blood and everything unless blood is everywhere--- like in dexter ahahhahaa
  9. by   fm1089
    Hahaha omg no joke, that blood episode in dexter was one of the first things I thought about!! Too funny. You are all so encouraging. Thank you for helping me regain my confidence!!!
  10. by   roser13
    Please believe everyone when they say "been there, done that." Pretty sure even that rude nurse got a little clammy at one time or another in the beginning.

    I believe that just as each nurse has that one thing that they simply cannot handle (snot, poo, mucous, etc.), we all have a trigger point in the OR. I had been in and out of ORs for years and never even felt the beginnings of clammy. However, the day I was shadowing a hand surgeon as part of the interview process, I learned something new about myself: I simply cannot look at fingers that are dissociated from their hands :-0. I saw a single finger lying on the tray all by itself and I almost lost it. Fortunately, I recognized what was happening and wasn't too proud to duck out of the OR. I still got the job
  11. by   LadyFree28
    Was dizzy watching a skin graft procedure on a child during LPN school. I only had coffee in the break room before the procedure. They helped me in the break room. They got me something to eat, then I saw external rotation and pins placed in a teen's forearm. Got lots of support.

    Next time, Peds rotation in my BSN program...saw the same procedure, exempt for leg...was dizzy, again (in hindsight a pattern). I just focused on the roles, so I stuck by the circulating nurse. And I ate that day...

    I realized that I cannot be a Pediatric OR nurse. I was assigned to a OR room, and saw a C-Section during LPN school, so I saw adults having OR procedures, and was like "no problem"...It's funny, because I have taken care of kids with trachs, changed them, vent patients, kids and adults with deep wounds, skin grafts, and flaps, tunnels, chest tubes, NGT, GT, draw blood, assisted in PICC line insertions, everything in between. I just will have to bow out of Peds surgery, and I'm OK with that!
  12. by   mclennan
    Haha! Don't feel bad! In nursing school I worked part time as an EMT and a CNA and thought I could handle anything! Then, at my L&D clinical one night, I got SPLASHED from head to toe with amniotic fluid. I mean soaked. It was in my hair.

    I was like a cut-down tree.....I teetered and wobbled then TIMMMMBER I went down like a sack of potatoes. Fainted dead away. The team lead nurse and an aide had to drag me out and prop me up in a chair until I came around. Talk about embarrassing! Everyone had a good laugh. It's common and don't even think you're alone!
  13. by   Twinmom06
    I'm in my last semester of NS and till now I've had no issues, blood, poop, mucus, amniotic fluid you name it I've handled it...then last week we rolled a patient that had a bowel/bladder fistula and since she had a foley catheter, purulent urine came flowing out of her rectum....aaaannnnddd she had a stage 4 necrotic sacral wound - the smell was really putrid and I think I held my breath too long and had self induced hypoxia! LOL...but anyway I had to go in the break room, sit and have a glass of water...

    note to self, never inhale deeply while rolling a patient when you don't know what's underneath!
  14. by   DoeRN
    Certain smells get to me. Especially sour smells. When I was a tech we did dressing changes. I was precepting a new tech and I had just taken off a g-tube dressing on a new patient. I pressed the call button right before I took the dressing off to have the nurse come in and take a look before I cleaned the room. The smell was unbearable! I stumble back and stood there. The nurse comes in the room and saw me get extremely pale and I had a blank look on my face. She runs over to me and asks if I was ok and boom I go down. She and the new pct help me to the chair. And I would not wake up! Called a rapid response and I woke up in the ER with a bunch of things hooked up to me.

    I have several near fainting episodes. Again usually if it is something I smell.

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