Anxiety, please help :(

  1. Hello everyone,

    I'm going to start off by saying that I have a lot of what I consider anxiety and OCD about blood borne pathogen exposure when I am at work, and I find that the most ridiculous instances happen to me even when I take full precautions... anyway, the story is that I am walking down the hallway at work and I hear an IV machine beeping... Patient had just gotten out of the shower and I helped tie his gown. I then went to go reach for gloves and the small size glove box was closed. I try to insert my index finger forcefully to get the perforation to open and I remember feeling some pain by the skin of my cuticle. I get my gloves on and proceed to help patient. I then leave the room and glance down at my finger and realize it is bleeding. I washed it off with soap and water and hydrogen peroxide. Later (because I love to mentally torture myself) I open the pt chart and see that he's positive for HIV HEP C and Hep B..... my mind then spirals into what if my bleeding cuticle somehow came into contact with his blood. I do not see how this could happen as the patient wasn't actively bleeding, but I can't seem to control my thoughts. Irrational things like (what if fluids came in contact with the glove box? or what if I cut myself on something infectious and didn't realize it?) In my logical mind I would probably be laughed at to even consider reporting anything like this, so I am turning to you my fellow nurses to help reassure me that I am sincerely ok... or to tell me otherwise.

    Please no mean remarks or judgment.. Just me typing this out is kind of making me see that I might be a little overboard... but It is night 3/3 help
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  2. Visit KamK411 profile page

    About KamK411

    Joined: Jun '18; Posts: 5; Likes: 1
    from FL , US

    9 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    I think you've said it - you are going overboard with your thoughts. Please get some sleep - hopefully this will be clearer to you when you wake up. Please take care of yourself - get enough sleep, eat healthy. If you still very stressed, how about talking this over with someone?
  4. by   KamK411
    Thank you for your comforting words ... I just finished my shift , I will try to relax . I really appreciate your response it made me feel a little better .
  5. by   KamK411
    Quote from traumaRUs
    I think you've said it - you are going overboard with your thoughts. Please get some sleep - hopefully this will be clearer to you when you wake up. Please take care of yourself - get enough sleep, eat healthy. If you still very stressed, how about talking this over with someone?
    I have considered talking with someone professional about how I feel but I am afraid. I am aware that needlesticks are the biggest risk to healthcare workers , and even then statistically the risk is "rare." I have never had a dirty needlestick before , but I can't stop my thoughts.
  6. by   Pixie.RN
    Quote from KamK411
    I have considered talking with someone professional about how I feel but I am afraid. I am aware that needlesticks are the biggest risk to healthcare workers , and even then statistically the risk is "rare." I have never had a dirty needlestick before , but I can't stop my thoughts.
    Does your facility offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? You really should find someone to talk to if you are finding that these thoughts and anxiety are becoming intrusive. Don't be afraid to get some assistance if you need it!
  7. by   KamK411
    Quote from Pixie.RN
    Does your facility offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? You really should find someone to talk to if you are finding that these thoughts and anxiety are becoming intrusive. Don't be afraid to get some assistance if you need it!
    I just looked this up online right now as I was not aware of this resource previously . Yes apparently my facility does offer this assistance for free. I will consider it ... thank you for telling me this ..
  8. by   Been there,done that
    " I can't stop my thoughts." Time for professional advice.

    Best wishes.
  9. by   direw0lf
    Just a side note here, not for this case because there was no blood contact, but in the future don't ever feel like you are irrational if exposure occurs because you would need prophylaxis treatment and must tell someone.

    I think everyone's been irrational from at some point in time especially after a 3/3. I was irrational once...wore gloves to feed a patient with hep C. (This article helped open my eyes btw a good read: https://www.keithrn.com/2018/04/touch/ )

    But I also agree with all the above comments to seek help when the thoughts are persistent.
  10. by   KamK411
    Quote from direw0lf
    Just a side note here, not for this case because there was no blood contact, but in the future don't ever feel like you are irrational if exposure occurs because you would need prophylaxis treatment and must tell someone.

    I think everyone's been irrational from at some point in time especially after a 3/3. I was irrational once...wore gloves to feed a patient with hep C. (This article helped open my eyes btw a good read: https://www.keithrn.com/2018/04/touch/ )

    But I also agree with all the above comments to seek help when the thoughts are persistent.
    Thank you. And yes direw0lf I have read similar articles like the one you linked about actually touching patients and how important human touch is. When I was in nursing school I wasn't as paranoid about gloving for little things like touching a patient. But when I started working on this floor I have seen so much already I feel like everything is contaminated. It's difficult to work this way. I do understand that this was not an exposure because I would have ran to the ER versus continue working if it were. Which is why it is exhausting to battle constant worries when in reality they do not exist. Thank you for your advice.
  11. by   Have Nurse
    You poor kid! It's going to be ok. You are right to follow protocols. Odd things can happen on occasion. As you stated, their was no blood or fluid contact. I agree with our colleagues. It's a good idea to get some support when you need it. We all need that. Keep going forward.

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