I’m not one of those people who faints at the sight of blood, but I would cringe.
Now, I’m learning to draw blood! (I’ve already “mastered” blood processing). I guess all this blood handling falls under the “other duties as assigned” on my job description …
We practiced on fake arms first. Yes, fake arms! I’m not making this up! They are these plastic flesh-colored arms that have red-dyed liquid in them so that people can practice drawing before drawing on real humans (who can feel pain)!
During the first class, I poked my (fake) arm numerous times and successfully “drew blood” each time. I looked around at my peers and they continued poking their (fake) arms. I was kind of bored of the fake-arm practice but didn’t feel like diving right in and attacking a real arm.
Finally after a few other classmates started drawing on each other, I joined in. I tried to put on my best “I’m-confident-and-can-draw-your-blood!” face while instead I was really thinking, “Oh my gosh. I can’t believe I am actually about to stick a needle into this girl’s arm!”
I gathered all the materials. I tied the tourniquet tightly around her upper arm. I cleaned off the area with an alcohol swab in which I was about to poke. I let the alcohol dry. And, then … it was time.
I gripped the needle firmly in my right hand and in one quick motion stuck her. She (thankfully) did not jump or twitch or say “ouch” but intently watched. My first fear was gone: I did not hurt her (so it appeared).
But, my second fear was that there would be no blood. And, it seemed to be true. The tube was not filling with any blood!
My instructor, who stood right beside me, told me to take the needle out a little bit. I did this and as I moved I told this poor girl “sorry” because I assumed that I was hurting her by doing this motion. She said she couldn’t feel a thing.
And then, the blood finally started flowing! I was relieved.
I untied the tourniquet and removed the tube from the tube holder. As I grabbed the cotton ball to place atop the needle, my hands started to shake every so slightly. As I removed the needle another “sorry” came out of my mouth because now I for sure thought I was hurting this poor girl since my HANDS WERE NOW SHAKING.
She said she didn’t feel a thing.
I hope this was actually true because later in the class, I told another girl who was practicing on me that I didn’t feel a thing when really it was a little painful when she stuck me with the needle.
And, well, here’s the evidence:
I got a nice bruise that lasted about a week!
Other than walking away from that first class with a bruise and perpetually sweaty hands at the thought of sticking someone, I can actually say that the act of sticking a needle into a person is not that bad. Do I want to be a phlebotomist? Heck no. Do I get nervous before having to draw blood? Of course. Am I scared that tomorrow is our final class and then after that I’m thrown into the real world with real patients to draw? Heck yes!
They say practice makes perfect, right? So, who’s willing to offer their arm to me?