To date, there have only been a handful of medical school related events that have made me bleed, sweat or cry. One of the experiences that has made me do all three was learning how to do a venipuncture.
What is a venipuncture?
The puncture of a vein as part of a medical procedure, typically to withdraw a blood sample or for an intravenous injection.
In order to be considered a proficient venipuncture-ist, My professor requires we complete 18 blood draws and be able to switch tubes while drawing. The first time I tried to do a venipuncture, I missed the vein on the “patient”. Luckily, she was a fellow medical school student and completely understood my plight. She even comforted me when the situation frustrated me to the point of tears. After that day, I realized that drawing from my classmates was a learning experience. I am now able to redirect my needle if I miss, or help someone direct the needle toward my veins if they miss. It’s no longer as scary or quite as painful as it was the very first day. It has been quite a transformation.
Yesterday, for the very first time, I drew blood from two actual patients (patients in this sense refers to individuals who are not my classmates, but volunteered to have blood drawn to help me become a better Doctor). What an amazing experience! I realized that one day I might actually be a good, or even great, venipuncture-ist. I felt completely competent in my skills, that was an exquisite change from the very first venipuncture I completed. Total victory. Without any blood, sweat, or tears.
Maybe a little blood, but it wasn’t my own.
Editorial Note: The term “venipuncture-ist” does not exist in real life. It exists solely for the purpose of this blog.