View Full Version : Fainting


Jess
09-22-2007, 07:57 PM
Hi all. As a student nurse I really think (and I think I will in the future) I will faint during clinical!

The first time I got to shadow a nurse (not during clinical) she was poking the needle around a woman's hand to draw blood or something (don't remember what she was doing but she did it about 4 times) and I felt fine. Then she still couldn't get it and when she did it for the 5th/6th time, I started seeing white spots and my head got all dizzy. I decided to excuse myself and sat down on a chair, took some deep breaths, etc. I felt okay, but the doctor noticed because he was like "You look quite pale."

Have you ever fainted? Also, I don't have the strongest stomach, so I think I will throw up eventually during clinical (I sure hope not!) Any tips on how I should try not to faint?

jojodow
09-22-2007, 08:53 PM
I vaguled only twice but not as a nurse but as a patient.
The first time not even really as a patient. Back when I was fresh out of High School and needed some money I donated plasma. I passed out right in the middle of a pint....my fault for not eating enough for breakfast. The second time after I slammed my thumb in the car door just a few years ago. Had to see my doctor to exsanguinate the blood under my fingernail. While she did it slowly with a needle I just got all woozy and started getting wall vision and lost my hearing. Had to lay down for a few and then let her resume.

A couple of my classmates fell over watching IV starts and surgeries. Make sure you just keep breathing and keep your knees bent slightly. Locking your knees will cause you to Vagul out for some reason...blood flow shifts. Don't be embarassed,if it happens, you can't help it. :secret:

MyOwnWoman
09-22-2007, 11:20 PM
Here is a real practical one. Tell the nurse who poked the patient 6 times that perhaps if she couldn't get it after 2 she should have stopped.

Lots of nurses try to impress others in their expert IV skills. I think I am darn good at IV's and I never poke a patient greater than twice, and if I can't see something that I am almost sure I can get in......once is enough for me.

I guess I don't need the glamour of getting in the hard IV; I'm a hard IV stick and personally, admit when you can't get it and move along.

Jess
09-22-2007, 11:43 PM
I know, but the woman's vein's were very hard to find and well, this was my first time in the hospital, so I had no clue what to expect.

jojodow, your post is great. I know it's not like I can stop myself from fainting, so I definitely won't be embarrassed if I do faint. It does happen and if I do feel kind of faint, I'll most definitely sit down so I don't hit my head if I do faint. I've just never fainted before and it's a first for everything I guess. ;)

geenaRN
09-23-2007, 12:03 AM
I fainted during clinical once. I was standing at a patient's bedside while a fairly complex abdominal dressing change was being done.

Next thing I knew, my head hurt and I was looking at some concerned faces over me :)

I was so nervous about touching something that I shouldn't, so I was standing very still. This was my big mistake. If you have to stand for long periods of time, make sure you:

1) don't lock your knees. Do slight knee bends, bend your knee back.

2) move your feet around in your shoes.

3) wiggle :)

When you stand completely still (as you will want to do when you're observing surgery, for instance) your blood pools in your lower extremities.

So keep moving! Squirm! Wiggle! It's much better than falling over, trust me.

starkissed
09-23-2007, 07:09 AM
This has only happened to me twice in my life... not fainting but knowing I had to sit down right then or else I would have. First time was when I was 18 and watching my then 16 y/o brother get stitches in his knee after a skiing accident. The needles got me lol. Then when I was externing and thought it would be cool to watch the anethesist put in an epidural one night when I was floated to OB.

GeenaRN has excellent advice on how to prevent it though. :)

P/J
09-23-2007, 10:49 AM
GeenaRN had the right advice. I think everyone feels faint, and has something that they just can't watch. It is important to know your limits and what makes you feel sick. Some people it is needles, some blood, some stool samples.

1. If you feel faint, bend your knees slightly, don't lock them.
2. Wiggle your toes in your shoes, as the blood is pooling in your legs.
3. Think of something else. Have this prepared before hand. It should be something away from nursing and your usual life. Something like; drinking at the pub; the smell of Christmas.
4. move if you can. If you are observing, go and move a chair 1 inch to the left, more the trolley 1 inch to the right, anything where you have to take a few steps.

I haven't fainted yet but i have left the room a few times and had to ask nurses to help me finish jobs. They have always been glad to finish a job for me, but i have always stayed and helped them. You are a student and there to learn, sometimes we learn best when we do it wrong (this means fainting at times).

MyOwnWoman
09-23-2007, 02:45 PM
Jess~

I apologize if my answer sounded harsh, but poking someone 5 or 6 times for an IV is one of my pet peeves.

Everyone (I think) has times when then feel they are about to pass out. I'm fortunate, I have never, but that doesn't mean I haven't felt like it.

Shift side to side, move a bit, maybe even say, "it's getting a little hot in here don't you think?" Do something to change the focus for just a minute.

jojodow
09-23-2007, 08:21 PM
Jess~

I apologize if my answer sounded harsh, but poking someone 5 or 6 times for an IV is one of my pet peeves.

Everyone (I think) has times when then feel they are about to pass out. I'm fortunate, I have never, but that doesn't mean I haven't felt like it.

Shift side to side, move a bit, maybe even say, "it's getting a little hot in here don't you think?" Do something to change the focus for just a minute.

I'm with ya, 2 times is my max. Although at the hospital I've seen nurses try more then twice. I always knew who to go to if I have trouble with an IV.

My Patient this past week almost passed out on me on the first stick! I got it though, all the while, telling her to breathe and I got someone to get her a cool towel for her neck (Seems to help)
She said that had never happened to her before...and she wasn't even watching me....so you never know what could trigger it. I think she was holding her breath.

LittleBird
09-24-2007, 12:28 PM
I think that almost everyone in my class had one of those moments where they fainted, or almost fainted. For some it was during a complex dressing change. For others it was while watching Electro-convulsive therapy. Several had it happen while in L&D about to watch a C-section, but didn't make it past the epidural going in. Personally, I haven't had my moment yet... but I know that it is coming someday. It sucks, but it happens. If you can recognize the signs that it is coming, then you can hopefully do something to keep it from happening. The tips that the others gave are the same ones that we had been told. Really, listen to your body. If you need to sit down for a few minutes, then go sit down before you don't have a choice.

Jess
09-24-2007, 12:32 PM
Thanks everyone for the posts. I'll definitely listen to my body and sit down if I start seeing spots. Thinking about something else is very helpful too, thanks P/J.

Julie
09-24-2007, 12:33 PM
I used to be in a habit of fainting when I got too hot around the time when I was about 18-20. This meant that not only did I faint at school during a biology class, but I also managed to faint at report on various wards and in the delivery suite! Thankfully having adopted some of the techniques mentioned above I stopped this very embarrassing habit! I think it would take a lot to make me faint now!

neuronurse
09-24-2007, 08:26 PM
I'm with ya, 2 times is my max. Although at the hospital I've seen nurses try more then twice. I always knew who to go to if I have trouble with an IV.

Our hospital has actually issued a 2 stick rule, after that you can call the IV specials team, they have a viewfinder and other cool things to help get the stick on the first try.


On the fainting note, I made it all the way through nursing school without any issues. The closest I got (and I was very close) was the first time I drew an ABG, without an A-line, you feel like you're in there FOREVER and moving the needle around trying to get the best flow. (Don't worry, my first stick pt was clinically brain dead and we we doing an apnea test) so no tormenting patients involved

KimRN
09-30-2007, 11:37 AM
Hi all. As a student nurse I really think (and I think I will in the future) I will faint during clinical!

The first time I got to shadow a nurse (not during clinical) she was poking the needle around a woman's hand to draw blood or something (don't remember what she was doing but she did it about 4 times) and I felt fine. Then she still couldn't get it and when she did it for the 5th/6th time, I started seeing white spots and my head got all dizzy. I decided to excuse myself and sat down on a chair, took some deep breaths, etc. I felt okay, but the doctor noticed because he was like "You look quite pale."

Have you ever fainted? Also, I don't have the strongest stomach, so I think I will throw up eventually during clinical (I sure hope not!) Any tips on how I should try not to faint?

I fainted watching my first delivery. I was only 19 and could not believe something that big (a baby) could come out of....well, where they come out of! :wave:

Elocin22
10-02-2007, 02:12 PM
Watching epidurals being placed, pleurocentesis...can't handle it. Always have to go sit down.

My old roommate passed out when we were in L&D during school. She, too, was watching an epidural being placed. She hit her head on the bedside table when she went down...had a lump and a headache for a week. Oddly, she's a L&D nurse now.

Jess
10-03-2007, 11:46 PM
That's why if I start seeing spots or anything I'll sit down Elocin22. ;) I definitely don't want to hit my head or anything. :(