I was asked to administer my first single drug dose to a young woman in the respiratory ward. She had been admitted with a severe case of pneumonia and after several X-rays and tests she was being put on intravenous drugs. She was in her late twenties and was very nervous of being in the hospital. She had a fear of needles and did not want any drugs given to her.I spoke to the young woman and informed her that we would be giving her and IV with the antibiotics necessary to treat her pneumonia. She refused point blank and stated she would take the medication through the normal oral method. However, due to the severity of her pneumonia she had to be treated intravenously for at least a couple of days so that the spread of the infection in the lungs could be stopped, she could them continue the oral medication at home.However, she refused and started to struggle.
It being my first time administering drugs, her nervousness transferred to me and I called a nurse to aid me. The nurse saw my stress and told me to calm down. She efficiently gave the patient a mild sedative and when the young woman became more docile, I administered the IV and started the medication.Once that was done I took a deep breath of relief. During the process, I had tensed up and could feel the dread growing in my head.
The patient’s nervousness had affected me and had caused me to lose objectivity for a while. I had even considered not giving her the IV and trying oral medication for a while, even though I knew it would be a risk. All these thoughts had tumbled into my head within seconds and the nurse’s efficient handling of the patient had brought me back to normal.On reflection I realized that in such a situation I should have initially talked to the patient about her fear of needles and where it actually came from and then confronted her with facts to help ease her fear. I could have informed her that there was no other choice and while her fear of needles seemed considerable, her fear of death should be even more, for complications of pneumonia can be fatal.If I had more experience I am sure I would have taken her reaction in stride for children always have a fear of needles and distraction always works when the fear has to be controlled.In retrospect, I would have been more patient and then, more confident.
It could have been that my inefficiency triggered the panic in the patient. Next time I am sure I will be more in control of myself and ensure that my patients know exactly what I will be doing and why. I will inform them frankly of any choices they may have and the procedure that will be involved in it.
I am sure that will help the patients understand and accept the administration of drugs.ReferencesJohns, C. and Graham, J. (1996) Using a Reflective Model of Nursing and Guided Reflection. Nursing Standard 11 (2) 34-38.