Find out how nursing professionals can avoid feeling queasy
Do you think nursing would be a good career for you, but you’re afraid of needles? Does the sight of blood make you feel queasy? Can you still go to nursing school if you're afraid of blood? Believe it or not, many successful nurses were once afraid of needles and blood! Most people are able to get over these feelings with enough practice and experience.
Ultimately, the decision is up to you, and you may feel that you simply can’t get over these feelings. However, there are some tips that can help queasy people deal with these reactions. Over time, nursing students have desensitized themselves and become terrific nursing professionals! Try these tips, gathered from nursing discussions on online discussion forums:
Practice on the dummies over and over again
When you are in nursing school, you will first learn your clinical skills—such as drawing blood or administering an injection—on dummies and models. The more you practice these skills, the more they will become second nature. Then when it comes time to practice on a fellow human being, you will feel less nervous about the procedure itself, which can help to settle your stomach.
Focus on the nursing skill, not the blood
If you are tasked with taking a blood sample or starting an IV, try not to think of the actual blood. Instead, focus on the activity you are doing step-by-step. Cleaning the arm, applying the tourniquet, prepping the needle…By focusing on the mechanics of what you are doing, you can get your mind off the part that makes you queasy.
Focus on the spot
If you are giving an injection in a patient’s arm, it might help to focus just on the small part of the body you are injecting. Don’t think about the whole arm belonging to the body of your patient. Just focus your attention on doing the injection properly in that one spot.
Ask for advice
In many patient care situations, there will be another nurse who has already worked with the patient. They may be able to give you advice on how you’re handling a certain situation, for example, changing a wound dressing, and sometimes this can help you focus on the procedure rather than on what is making you woozy.
Stay hydrated, fed, and rested
Some people who faint at the sight of blood can get over this by making sure they eat a healthy meal and stay hydrated before their nursing shift. Same goes for caffeine—try to avoid it if it makes you jumpy or nervous. And a good night’s sleep is important too!
Desensitize yourself by watching videos
Most nurses agree that they begin to feel desensitized to the unsavory parts of the job the more they do it. To build up your level of tolerance, try watching procedures on YouTube or medical education sites. By watching a procedure done over and over again, you start to get desensitized and the queasy feelings may get better.
Watch the experts
While in nursing school, tell your instructor that you have issues with feeling woozy. Ask to watch others perform the procedures repeatedly, so that you get more desensitized every time you see it.
Squeeze your quads and abs
Some people find that when that queasy feeling comes on, they can squeeze their quads and abs. By squeezing these large muscles, you can help to keep blood (and oxygen) in your head. Keeping oxygen in your head may help you avoid fainting.
It’s a fact that nursing professionals see all sorts of human conditions that most people don’t see in their regular everyday life. Dealing with these sights can be upsetting both physically and emotionally. If you are considering nursing school, or if you are already in the nursing profession, we hope these tips help you deal with feelings of queasiness and wooziness. If you can get yourself over this hurdle, you will be proud that you did!
The Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health in Manchester, NH, is proud to be preparing tomorrow’s nursing professionals. Find out more about our Practical Nurse training program online.