Empty Elizabeth

In front of something, yet still behind...

Monday, October 03, 2005

There's a first time for everything

Well, I had my first patient fainting tonight. Scary stuff.

I've been a certified MT for 5 and a half years. I learned to draw blood beginning about 8 months before that, while I was a student. Drawing blood is not too bad, once you get over any fears you might have.
Me, I was very nervous and would get all sweaty. I would DREAD waking up, knowing I would have to go and draw blood on at least 5 patients when I got in to the hospital. Though I'm not the most nervous student my coordinator has had. He told us of one student that took showers in the locker room every morning after she was done with her draws because she would sweat THAT much.
Regardless of nervousness, once you learn technique and are proficent at finding veins on healthy people, drawing blood goes well. The more practice you get, the better you get.

Back to the fainting...
The reason this is my first fainting in 5 odd years is that I drew patients in a large hospital. This means all the patients I saw were in beds of some sort. The arms are easliy positioned, there are plenty of nurses around in case you need them, and anyone you couldn't get, well, they'd send someone really good up, or make the doc do it. It was also good practice because most of these people were ill, which sometimes made for a challenging veinipuncture.
I was actually employed by said hospital for 3 months. Then I had SE... and quit. After 6 months I started looking for a job and I found this one. Great hours (4-9pm), I work 1 in 4 Saturdays 8am to 1pm (once ever 4 of my Saturdays I work 8-5), I don't need daycare for the boys, and it's a more relaxed environment compared to the hospital. Don't get me wrong, we have our share of craziness and busy-ness! The facility I work at is a large clinic with many specialties and many doctors and a walk-in clinic. We have plebotomists that draw blood all day until 6:30pm. Once they go home, whoever is scheduled in the Hematology department answers the phones and draws blood if our walk-in clinic needs it. Today, that is me.
Now that I'm writing about it, the fainting doesn't seem all that bad. It was still scary, but I think I did well. The patient even told me he was feeling light-headed and I took the tourniquet off and we telling him to put his head between his knees, but by then he couldn't really hear me. We have a nice system where you just hit the button on the wall and an alarm sounds in the lab. There are 3 other people here today (some days, just 2 others), and when they hear the alarm, someone comes running out to help. The patient was already coming-to when someone came out to help. It seemed like forever after I hit the buzzer, but she did come out right away.

It's back to work now, it's almost 8:00pm and walk-in hasn't called yet to let us know they're done. I hope I don't have a second time any time soon.


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