Blood, Guts, and Gore- Becoming a Nurse or CNA When You’re Squeamish

nurseIf you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it 5,177,856 times: it takes a special type of person to become a nurse or a CNA. That being said, there are some limitations that shouldn’t keep you from finding a career in the health care field, and one of them is being squeamish at the site of blood.

The fact is, you aren’t alone in your phobia. A study of a large medical school in 2009 revealed that 12% of students at the school studying to become doctors felt faint or even fainted when assisting in the operating room. If these students could go on to become doctors, why should you let something like syncope or near-syncope affect your ability to become a nurse or CNA?

Getting Over the Sight of Blood and Guts When You’re a Nurse

While fainting at the sight of blood or an open wound is not something you want to do every day, there’s still a good chance you can learn how to become a nurse despite this issue. Here are a few tips that can help.

  • Disassociation- If you aren’t thinking about the blood, the guts, and the gore, you’re much less likely to let it completely terrorize you to the point of fainting or even feeling queasy. Distracting yourself is an easy way to make your brain focus on anything but the blood in front of you. You can do this by counting to ten slowly or even repeating the steps of the procedure you’re about to assist with over and over in your head.
  • Find Another Specialty- Despite the nursing field’s reputation for all things squeamish, you can actually work in many specialties after CNA training or nursing school where blood is something you only see when you’re drawing it or placing an IV, like radiology and psychiatric nursing.
  • Drive Your Focus- When you’re having trouble with an open wound or drawing blood, it sometimes helps to focus on one thing in particular and only that. For instance, let’s say you’re assisting a surgeon in the operating room, handing him the appropriate tools he needs to save the life of a patient. While you could focus on the fact that a patient’s entire insides are now stting next to you outside his body, wouldn’t it more pertinent to focus on the fact that you can now see the metastatic tumor the surgeon is going to remove? Use this time to focus on what you’re learning, what you’re experiencing, and how those things will help you in the future.
  • Give it Time- When you’re squeamish about blood or any other bodily fluids, sometimes all you need is a little time and experience. After you’ve spent some time as a health care assistant or nurse, you’ll begin to become desensitized to these things. It may take a little while, but those initial feelings of queasiness will pass.

Worried that you won’t learn how to become a nurse because you almost faint at the sight of blood? Don’t be. You’re not alone in this problem, and there are ways of getting past it so you can continue working toward your dream job.

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