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Passing Out at Clinical

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by futurenurse168 futurenurse168 (New) New

472 Profile Views; 7 Posts

Hi Everyone!

I am currently in a TBSN program, and I have a mandatory OR observation coming up. I am super nervous because I have seen one surgery (when I shadowed in HS) and passed out. I also fainted at clinical while watching an invasive procedure in the OR. I don't think I am bothered by surgery itself, but for whatever reason, I don't seem to tolerate watching it very well. OR nursing is definitely not in my future. 

Has anyone experienced vasovagal syncope as a student and found a way to manage it in the clinical/OR setting? Any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated!! I alway make sure to eat and keep my legs bent. 

Edited by futurenurse168

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OliveOyl91 is a CNA, RN and specializes in Orthopedics, Trauma.

274 Posts; 4,307 Profile Views

I had one experience during my clinical preceptorship where I felt like I would pass out. I was assisting my nurse with a really complicated dressing change on a patient who had an open window thoracostomy. You could see into their thoracic cavity and see their lungs. Of course they were on contact isolation so we were wearing those hot isolation gowns. 

Well, soon I suddenly got overwhelmingly hot and started feeling lightheaded. I was honest and told my nurse that I needed to sit down. I sat down, focused on my breathing, and the feeling passed. 

Make sure you eat a little something something, try not to clench your legs, and be honest. Warn folks if you think you’re heading in that direction. That way they don’t have to pick you up off the floor. ❤️

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verene specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

1,531 Posts; 9,798 Profile Views

Yes! I experienced vasovagal syncope for years prior to nursing school and was somewhat worried about it going into nursing school.

Make sure you eat a good breakfast and stay well hydrated when going to the OR (and before clinical in general if you have a history of fainting). For me if I'm a little light-headed wiggling my knees or shifting my weight around on my feet can sometimes be enough to diminish the feeling and allow me to move on with what I'm doing. If I notice warnings signs  while working the floor I'll also try to duck out and get some water ASAP as that usually helps me bump my blood pressure back up.

Identify places to sit down/slide down a wall should you need to in advance.

Also do not be afraid to speak up if you need to sit or leave the OR for any reason. The staff would much rather have you need to sit down or leave and tell them this then to actually have you faint and become a second patient in the room.  I did have one "almost" episode in clinical while drawing blood (which normally doesn't bother me at all).  I alerted the RN I was working with and handed her the supplies I was holding and sat down the floor. She finished the procedure and then walked me to a break room where I could get some water and sit for a few minutes - I ended up being just fine and finishing out the rest of the day. Neither she nor my instructor were upset, my instructor even offered to send me to student health if I needed to go. And both were glad that I'd identified my warning signs and kept both myself and my patient safe by handing over care and getting myself to safety BEFORE I actually fainted. Also  the really anxious peds patient I was trying to draw blood on was so distracted by me sitting on the floor that he didn't even notice when the RN took his blood and his mom was delighted that we got through it with out him crying even if a bit concerned for my well-being. So everything worked out just fine.

 

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"nursy" has 40 years experience as a RN and specializes in ICU, ER, Home Health, Corrections, School Nurse.

130 Posts; 647 Profile Views

If it's sqeamishness, you will get used to it.  I had a few episodes in the beginning of my career, but very quickly acclimated.  If  it's physiological, then agree with previous poster. Eat well (protein,  so your sugar doesn't go up then come crashing down), hydrate, and don't overdo caffeine. 

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