Needle Phobia

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Venipuncture is generally associated with some degree of pain, discomfort, and/or apprehension. Yet most patients accept it with tolerance, even nonchalance. A few, not only pediatric patients, exhibit a higher degree of anxiety and face the procedure with tears, tension, and a variety of bargaining techniques (ie, stick on the count of 3; use only this vein). But for 1 group of people, venipuncture is associated with such fear that avoidance of the procedure is practiced. The end results are detrimental to the patient and may have an impact on society as well. These are patients the American Psychiatric Association classifies as needle phobic. What can a nurse with no training in psychiatry do to assist these patients? To form an appropriate professional response, it's beneficial for practitioners to recognize the different pathways that lead to needle phobia and the issues related to the disorder.

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