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Hematophobia: My student's fear of Blood..?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

One day during our practical session I was just showing how to pipette out blood for some experiments. I was doing mouth pipetting as there is no other equipments to do the other way. At the mouth of pipette I used a gauze. Then I told the students that they should practice this for their examination purpose. Then they just asked how they will do mouth pipetting. They are afraid of getting infection from the pipette. Some students even asked can we get artificial blood to do the practicals. Actually that question stuck in my mind and I realized the worst part of the current practical sessions for the students.
The governments of the countries especially under the threat of AIDS and other infectious diseases should undertake a mission to avoid the mouth pipetting. They should put some rules strictly to stop these type of old practices. The worries of the students were worthy. Their doubts were correct. There is a chance of infection through the mouth pipetting.
Even though these medical students will deal with the blood of different types of patients in the future, there should be some ways to replace the use of natural blood in the practicals during their educational period to avoid such dilemma.
All of you know that hemoglobin estimation, RBC and WBC count, clotting time, ESR we use the blood. During practical sessions we can not take blood from each persons to do the experiments individually. Usually we will take from one person and make others to do with it. There is the problem. We do not know whether the person is having any infections in the blood. Most of the students are afraid of doing mouth pipetting because they afraid if any increase in the pressure they are applying on the pipette there is chance of entering blood into their mouth. Even the student are not ready to be a subject that they are afraid of the syringe we use. They are not sure it is a sterilized one, even though it is packed tightly. Teachers who are taking practical session will face such problem every time in such countries.
So one of the solution is the use of artificial blood instead of using the natural blood. But as the cost is high that an institutional laboratory can not afford it. Artificial hemoglobins, artificial RBCs are synthesized recently and they are trying to make it available to the common man. Once it get popularized we can hope that the cost also will decrease. Another thing we can do is the use of sterilized blood from blood bank. Rather we can show the students the animations of the practical procedures using a projector. Along with all these we can keep some permanent slides for RBC and WBC and can show them how they look when we observe under the microscope. The best and convenient method is using bulb to apply the pressure on the pipette.
I think this is an important issue among the medical students. If they are not comfortable with their methods of studies, it will automatically affect their standard of education as well as the grades. A student should get the freedom of study. If he/ she has a fear, that will make them upset and will lead to a fall in the concentration on studies. The worries of getting an infection from the lab equipments will make them an introvert. They will just hide from their duties as a student. The only solution to solve this problem is to study the defects of the current methods and strictly adopt a student friendly method of study so that he/ she can do whatever the practicals with out any fear and with full confidence.



അംജിത് said...

Dear Arjun,
You are really fantastic with your topics and doing a very good job here. though I am not that interested in science topics, your posts are drawing my attention to its core. Keep on posting such socially and scientifically important topics.
hats off to your efforts

Arjun said...

Thank you dear. Actually I am just writing something which passes through some moments in my life. I hope somebody will think over it and get benefited. Thats my only aim.

Amritha said...

Avoiding mouth pipetting ,use of sterilized blood can surely be solutions...but use of artificial blood,how far it can help i am not so sure

Arjun said...

the artificial blood is in its finishing touch. That may be available for the human nearby future.they already succeeded in making of some of the components in the blood artificially.So we can hope that it may help in the future.

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