Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2022

Document Type

DNP Project

Project Team Faculty Member

Dr. Laurie Hopper

Project Team Faculty Member

Dr. Kelley Mcguire


vasovagal syncope, vasovagal reaction, venipuncture, blood phobia, needle phobia, pain, anxiety


Venipuncture is a common medical procedure and is considered safe and routine. However, intermittent cases occur where patients develop symptoms of lightheadedness, nausea, weakness, and occasionally a full syncopal episode due to needle phobia, blood phobia, and pain associated with venipuncture. Vasovagal Reactions (VVR) or Vasovagal Syncope (VVS) during a venipuncture procedure can be distressing for the patient, the clinician, and disruptive to clinic routines. This paper examines whether techniques such as simple leg tensing and wiggling of toes can reduce or abort VVR/VVS completely as the patient undergoes venipuncture. Clinicians were instructed in techniques to use if the patient exhibited any signs of VVR/VVS, or if the patient claimed to have a history of these reactions in the past with venipuncture. Two outpatient lab sites were used for this project. 1200 patients presented for bloodwork, of which 15 exhibited signs of VVR/VVS. Of those patients who did need intervention, all but one experienced modified or no symptoms at all as the exercises were performed. The ability to mitigate VVR/VVS easily during a routine blood drawing or intravenous insertion procedure is beneficial to the patient, decreasing their symptoms and level of anxiety. It is also beneficial to the phlebotomist, who can direct the patient and help manage the problem quickly and easily. Mitigating the problem before it advances to more significant problems also helps to minimize any disruption to clinic operations.

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