Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

'I volunteered for a cannula, and it really hurt'

  • Comments (3)

Undoubtedly one of the most common things you will see in hospital is a cannula.

Patients routinely have them because they are the quickest and easiest way to recieve fluid and medication should something go wrong.

I volunteered to have the procedure to better understand what it felt like as a patient. Naïvely, I thought it wouldn’t be that different to a blood test or to blood donation. After all, the needle’s a lot smaller.

The HCA put on the tourniquet and began feeling for a vein under the guidance of a nurse. After a suitable one was found, the area was cleaned and the cannula was ready to be inserted.

“It will feel like a sharp scratch …”

I would argue it was more than a sharp scratch. I’m not ashamed to say that it actually hurt.

It hurt sufficiently for me to grimace. This made my pain very obvious to the HCA which then made him feel nervous and unsure. This hesitation only compounded my problem as his hand began shaking vigourously. But the nurse overseeing the procedure guided him and after a few bits of manoeuvring the cannula was inserted.

The pain suprised me not only because I thought I was fine with needles but because it’s such a common procedure.

What I thought would be the least painful procedure actually turned out to be the most uncomfortable. Now when a patient asks me if it will hurt, hopefully I’ll have the insight to know and will understand what causes the least amount of discomfort.

Would you be up for having a procedure to see what it feels like as a patient?

I would encourage you to try and develop more of an insight. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to volunteer yourself for every procedure going but just be mindful of what it might feel like to be the patient, not the nurse.

  • Comments (3)

Readers' comments (3)

  • George Kuchanny

    Hi Adam,
    Do not volunteer for a cystoscopy! As we have a ureter which is thinner and some eight inches (average) longer that our female compatriots I can assure you that 'discomfort' does not cover it.

    MRI is the least objectionable if you fancy having an up close and personal of your bladder I would imagine.

    Any urologist type experts reading this I wonder? If so what do you think of MRI diagnostic capablity?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Little One

    I have had several cannulas inserted on various trips to the hospital as well as blood tests etc and I never sugar coat it. I tell patients that it will hurt, because it does, at least that way they can be prepared. I have also had my BM taken three times a day, a CT and MRI scans so I can prepare patients for what it will be like. I would not start volunteering for invasive procedures just for the experience though!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Adam Roxby

    Hello George.

    I have had a swab of the urethra which was no laugh but I think you have trumped me.

    An MRI is certainly on my list though as I have always wondered what it would be like. I guess I will find out my level of claustrophobia.

    Little One - I think honestly in this matter is paramount and thanks to my experience i can attest to how it will actually be.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.