Monday, April 03, 2006

The pointy end is the patient end

I gave my first injection today, and I wasn’t nervous at all. I think I was so focused on proper technique, that anxiety couldn’t take hold. It was a subcutaneous injection (into the layer of fat between skin and muscle) of insulin into the back of the patient’s upper arm, which is a preferred site for insulin. The patient’s been getting insulin injections for a long time now, I don’t think I hurt him.

I didn’t tell him it was my first time with a real person, but he didn’t really need to know that. Why create unnecessary anxiety? Or have him flat turn me down? When we practice injections in lab, our teachers actually address this. The hypothetical conversation between student nurse and patient would go something like this (with the parts said only in our heads in brackets):

Student nurse: OK, time for your medication.
Patient: Nursing student huh. Have you done this before?
SN: Yes [on a mannequin].
Patient: Who?
SN: I just gave an injection to Mr. O’Dell [which is the name of our mannequin].

I didn't have that conversation with my patient. He seemed at ease with me and I was ready to go. Prep site, dart in, stabilize, inject slowly, withdraw. No problem.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the insider info. I have a needle phobia, so if anyone ever tells me they just injected Mr. O'Dell, I can throw a tantrum until I get someone with more experience.

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