In the know: Picking the right (or wrong) route

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, July 26, 2010

Wouldn't it be great if all medications could be given orally? No mess, no fuss—anyone who can eat could be medicated! However, as not all patients will be conscious when having to administer medications, it is important to remember other tactics as well. Each route has its advantages along with its disadvantages; just remember to pick the best one that fits the particular medication/patient combination.

Some of the varying routes include:

  • Oral: Patients can swallow the medication with water, food, or without anything.
  • Subcutaneous: Depositing the medication just beneath the skin where they are slowly absorbed and enter the bloodstream
  • Intramuscular: Common method given to larger volumes when quicker absorption is desired.
  • Intravenous: Commonly used in acute-care nursing where a large or small amount can be administered.

For more tips, check out HCPro's book, Stressed Out About Pharmacology.

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