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Br J Nurs. 2012 Jul 26-Aug 8;21(14):S18-22.

'Needle with ease': rapid stress management techniques.

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  • 1Supportive Care and Smoking Cessation Services, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.


For some patients, even looking at a needle is enough to make them feel anxious. Repeated cannulation for bloods and all other intravenous therapies, such as scans and chemotherapy treatment can become so frightening that they escalate to feeling overwhelmed and panicky. If this response persists without any intervention, it may eventually become a phobia (Choy et al, 2007). Four-hundred-thousand patients are treated at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust each year, with many receiving intravenous chemotherapy treatments. The 'CALM' service was initiated over 5 years ago to enable and support patients to achieve a calm state during procedural-related anxieties and panic. Thanks to recent funding from 'Walk the Walk' Breast Cancer Charity, the service has grown, enabling more patients to access the service. Increasing skill has led to development of training courses for health professionals. The training provides easy-to-learn skills, some of which are described here, that can be used to prevent and/or interrupt panic states triggered by medical procedures.

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