Phlebotomy-OUCH, I'm so sorry...

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Hello everyone. This is my dilemma. I'm not looking for sympathy, but reassurance. I'm on the nursing student list for Fall 2005 at my college. While I wait, I've decided to enroll in a PCT course. We're in Phlebotomy now, and I'm a little nervous. I tend to back off, or go in to slow...I'm just afraid hurting someone immensely.:o I know it sounds ridiculous because other students have had no problem performing venipuncture, but I do. How do I get past this? I was really excited about this course, and still are...but is this normal? Please tell me so...I've invested so much effort, time and money in regards to college and training. How do I get past the jitters? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much in advance!


38 Posts

Practice, practice, practice!

I was the same way when I first started blood draws. I figured out pretty quickly that the more nervous or timid I was when I was sticking, the more likely I was to blow the vein or miss entirely! The more you do, the more comfortable you will be. Hang in there!

Altra, BSN, RN

6,255 Posts

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

I agree - practice, practice, practice ... You'll be better at ANYTHING you do after you've done it 100 times.

I understand where you're coming from - I remember breaking out in a dripping sweat the first time I gave a pt. an injection.



34 Posts

Competence comes with time.... if you are not sure ask, and then practice practice and practice. Thats the way i learned... I even had a classmate accidently stick the butterfly needle in my forearm she was so nervous in the beginning. I lived and she improved as time went on. I even let her stick me again LOL... Best wishes..

Indy, LPN, LVN

1,444 Posts

Specializes in ICU, telemetry, LTAC.

Don't feel bad; everyone has their quirks with needles. I'm good at phlebotomy, but only because it was my job a long time ago. And I've had zero chances so far to draw blood in clinicals.

But when it came time to give subcu injections, I was so nervous I contaminated a needle, changed needles, then promptly stuck myself with the new needle! Fortunately this was in the med room. And I couldn't recap a needle after drawing from a vial to save my neck. I'm hoping this nervousness won't be present with starting IV's.

I don't know who you're practicing on, but for me the best practice I got, when I was learning phlebotomy was on unconscious people- neuro and ICU. Knowing you can't hurt 'em and they aren't likely to move makes you concentrate more on technique.


not now, RN

495 Posts

Specializes in LTC, med-surg, critial care.

I used to be a phlebotomist and honestly, the faster/smoother the needle goes in the less they feel it. Kinda like pulling off a band-aid. I'm pretty quick going in (and I REFUSE to dig around. If I missed, I missed) and I was frequently told "I didn't even feel you do that."

You also need to remember that some people will complain no matter how good you are. :uhoh21:

Most importantly: Practice, practice, practice

wonderbee, BSN, RN

1 Article; 2,212 Posts

Specializes in critical care; community health; psych.

I hear ya! This was a huge issue and challenge for me when I began my work as PCT. It really is a matter of practice. You can take a dozen classes, but only practice on real veins gets you where you want to go. Time and practice. Some catch it faster than others but eventually, we all get to the same place.

and don't forget to try not to think of it as being attached to someone. i would just think of it as a hand, not oh-my-god that could be my hand and i knows this might hurt would get me so wrapped up that i couldn't concentrate on doing it well and only one time.:)


78 Posts

Specializes in Fertility.

Thanks everyone for your words of wisdon, and encouragement. I was a success today (4 out of 4 ) and owe it all to you! I honestly toke everyone of you to lab today. In my heart that is!

Thanks again!

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