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ASK A STUDENT NURSE

"I want to be a nurse, but I'm terrified of giving injections. How can I overcome my fear?"

Do you have any advice for this student nurse?

“I’m about halfway through my first placement of my nursing course and absolutely loving it. The only problem is I’m terrified of giving injections. I’ve wanted to be a nurse all my life and am passionate about caring for people but I’m embarrassed to say, I don’t think I’ve got it in me to give injections.

“So far, I’ve managed to avoid giving them but I know at some point I’m going to have to and just thinking about this makes me feel sick.

“I know it sounds silly, but I really don’t think I can do it. Is it possible to be a nurse and not give injections? I’m starting to think that if I can’t do something this basic then maybe nursing isn’t the career for me after all.”

 

Anna*, Manchester

*Name changed as wished to remain anonymous

 

Do you have any advice for Anna?

 

If you have a problem and would like feedback from the student nursing community, email fran.entwistle@emap.com

 

Readers' comments (3)

  • Hi, I'm a student nurse, nearing the end of my first placement. I shared this fear too, however I thought I wouldn't have to worry about injections for a while... but I already have administered several injections. And I can say to you that the pre-fear you have of giving injections disappears when you are actually giving them, because you are concentrating on getting it right that you forget about your fear. Don't let injections stop you from becoming a nurse. Your fear is most likely only because you have never done it before, think of it as starting placement for the first time, giving a bed bath for the first time etc, it will become second nature to you. When you do give your first injection, there will be a nurse there to guide you through each step. Giving an injection is not as bad as it sounds. I was extremely terrified too, even now I can give them but I don't like too, but then that's with every career you will love some parts and hate other parts! To make yourself more confident, try to read up on the techniques, make yourself familiar with these techniques and it'll make you a whole lot more confident. But definitely do not leave nursing simply because of injections! Good luck, and I hope you manage to overcome this fear! :)

    -A fellow nursing student. Xxx

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  • Talk to you mentors and tutors and uni, they will be able to support you and talk through your fears/anxieties with you and find a way for you to overcome it. If you really love caring for people then this small thing shouldn't stop you :)

    Lots of people have issues with injections/needles and it was something that I was really nervous about when I started my training. I still can't bear watching others give injections as it makes me feel really sick and like I'm about to pass out however when I administer them myself it doesn't bother me at all!

    I'm quite sure once you've had a go and done it a couple of times you'll be absolutely fine :)

    -A final year student nurse-

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  • as a kid and teenager I often fainted when given an injection/vaccination. in training I was dreading it but we started injecting sponges and oranges so I got over that hurdle. In those days junior doctors took blood so I had to learn that much later on when qualified and the school had a neat plastic arm with a fine tube filled with red dye with various areas where a needle could be inserted and the fluid withdrawn. I felt uncomfortable when it came to my turn and was surprised to find it wasn't that hard and so proud of my achievement and many years later with plenty of experience I am often called upon as I seem to be able to draw blood from difficult veins where colleagues have sometimes not managed it and a task which I find very satisfying. (I think we all prefer some tasks over others and are better at some of them).

    Very early on in my training I had to leave the room during a film on burns and later discovered when faced with the real thing that technicolour and sitting as a passive viewer is far worse than the real situation when the patient and not your own emotions are central. I still can't watch such films and tend to turn away at particularly gory scenes as I think they make my imagination run riot.

    Again my first day in the operating theatres I fully expected not to be able to cope with such an atmosphere but found it so interesting I forgot all of these unpleasant feelings and the fear of standing for prolonged periods in one place which was difficult to escape from and of fainting ( used to faint regularly in morning prayers at school and on Sunday's in church and was carried out on several occasions!). The atmosphere in theatres or during any invasive procedures can be very tense and attention is not always kindly directed to the newcomer and how s/he may be feeling on their first day.

    Good luck! with perseverance and being able to express our feelings to those who can offer support most of us get over it although in my early days it was all stiff upper lip and one would not have dreamed to confessing to what were then perceived as weaknesses. Mental distraction and focusing on other things and on patients and colleagues and learning is helpful. Most of us manage to find our own strategies or have help from others so it should not be allowed to remain a problem.

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