Not many people enjoy getting their blood drawn. In fact, some people are downright terrified of it. There are a number of reasons that a patient might be nervous or afraid to have their blood drawn. Here are a few:
- The patient might be nervous about getting their blood drawn if it is his/her first time
- The patient might have had a bad previous venipuncture experience and they are worried they will have another bad experience
- The patient might be afraid of needles
Whatever the reason for a patient’s nerves or anxiety, it is your job as the phlebotomist to put their mind at ease and collect the patient’s sample without any undue discomfort. Here are five tips to help all aspiring and existing phlebotomists manage the nerves of anxious patients when performing a venipuncture:
There is much more to being a good phlebotomist than properly performing a venipuncture. Demonstrating compassion is an absolutely fundamental part of the job. If a patient is anxious about getting their blood drawn, showing your compassion will help settle their nerves and and put their mind at ease. Make sure your compassion comes through in your voice, your words and your actions.
It can be helpful to validate the patient’s fears. Let them know that it is ok to be nervous and that fear of needles and/or fear of getting blood drawn is actually totally normal. Sometimes just hearing that their fear is normal and nothing to be ashamed of can actually set a patient’s mind at ease.
- Be friendly
Especially for people getting their blood drawn for the first time and people who have had bad venipuncture experiences in the past, being friendly is absolutely crucial. Smile, make eye contact, and reassure your patients that everything will go smoothly. Make sure they are comfortable, get them a cup of water or have them lay back on a table if need be.
Another helpful strategy is to reassure your patients that they are in good hands. After all, you have gone through extensive training to become a phlebotomist and you have performed many venipunctures in the past. Be careful not to minimize their fears or concerns, but do let them know that you will take good care of them.
This is a highly effective strategy to help nervous patients. No matter how young or old the patient, sometimes all they need is a bit of distraction to take their mind off of the upcoming blood draw. Try to get the patient talking about something that does not have to do with the procedure. Have them tell you about a recent or upcoming vacation, ask about work or school, just getting the patient talking can be exceptionally helpful in distracting the patient and will help you perform your job without a hitch.
Here at NCE in Rancho Cordova, we teach these skills and more in order to help our students become effective phlebotomists. If you are in the Sacramento area and you are interested in pursuing a career as a phlebotomist, check out more information about our Sacramento Phlebotomist certification program here: http://nceschool.com/lab-assistant-ekg-technicianphlebotomist/