What influence does experience play in heel prick blood sampling?



Shepherd A, Glenesk A & Niven C (2006) What influence does experience play in heel prick blood sampling?. Journal of Neonatal Nursing, 12 (3), pp. 97-102.;

The objective of this study was to investigate the role of ‘experience’ in performing the heel prick test. Babies (n ¼ 340) were randomly allocated to be tested with either the Tenderfoot or Genie Lancet heel prick device. Testing was conducted by nine midwives (n ¼ 4, experienced, more than 20 years qualified) who performed the heel prick procedure routinely and rotational midwives (n ¼ 5, less experienced, 4e8 years qualified) who only performed the heel prick procedure when working in the community. Test technique outcomes investigated included (1) cleaning of heel, (2) babies position, (3) feeding at test, (4) use of soothing words. Other test outcomes (1) quality of the blood sample, (2) number of heel pricks required to take sample, (3) blood flow, (4) presence of bruising (5) time taken to collect sample, (6) time squeezing the heel and (7) time baby cried were also studied. The experienced midwives were more likely to hold the baby during testing but less likely to clean the infants heel prior to the incision. The experienced midwives collected a better quality sample, in less time and required fewer heel pricks than the less experienced midwifery group.

Heel prick blood sampling; Guthrie test; Midwifery; Experience; Transfer of pain knowledge; Pain education; Pain physiopathology

Journal of Neonatal Nursing: Volume 12, Issue 3

Publication date30/06/2006
Publication date online05/06/2006
PublisherElsevier Ltd / Neonatal Nurses Association
Publisher URL

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Professor Ashley Shepherd
Professor Ashley Shepherd

Professor, Health Sciences Stirling