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Preparing and Administering IV Push Medications

Preparing and Administering IV Push Medications



Intravenous or IV push is the rapid administration of a small volume of medication into the patient's vein via a previously inserted intravenous catheter. This method is used when a rapid response to a medication is required, or when the medication cannot be administered via the oral route.

Medications administered via IV push are the ones to treat moderate or severe pain, and the preparations are commonly provided in vials or ampules for withdrawal to a syringe. Like for any medication administration procedure, a nurse must follow and complete the five "rights" at the three safety checkpoints. Additionally, before administration, the nurse must also confirm the correct placement of the IV catheter, because the push medication can cause irritation and damage to the lining of the blood vessel and surrounding tissues.

This video presents the process of assessing IV catheter placement and administering medications through an intravenous push injection.

Upon entering the patient's room, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or apply hand sanitizer using vigorous friction.

Next, walk to the bedside computer and log into the electronic health record, or EHR. Review the patient's medical history and previous administration times, and verify with the patient any recorded medication allergies, discussing their physical allergic responses and reactions. In the EHR, also review the electronic medication administration record, or MAR, for IV fluid orders. If the patient has a maintenance IV fluid and/or IV fluid medications currently being administered, determine their compatibility with the push medication to be administered using a drug guide. Exit out of the EHR and leave the room. Wash hands as previously described.

Next, go to the Medication Preparation area, acquire the medication from a Medication Dispensing Device, and complete the first safety check using the 5 "rights" of medication administration. Now, in the medication preparation area, prepare the IV push medication according to the best practices and procedures. Calculate the amount of medication you need to withdraw, which depends on the provided vial concentration. For example, if the administration dose on the MAR is 2 milligrams and the solution concentration is 5 milligrams per 10 milliliters, then the amount of volume that you need to withdraw can be obtained by using the method of cross-multiplication, which is 4 milliliters in this case. Open the medication box and pull out the medication vial. Then, "pop off" the plastic cap on the top of the vial. Remove an alcohol wipe from its package and scrub the top of the medication vial for 20 seconds, with friction and intent.

Next, obtain from the syringe drawer the smallest syringe that will accommodate the volume of solution to be aspirated from the medication vial. Open the syringe package, using aseptic technique, by peeling the paper packaging at the syringe tip end until you are able to grasp the syringe outer barrel. You may drop the packaging on the counter. Next, move the syringe between your dominant ring finger and middle finger, taking special care not to contaminate the syringe tip, or the area of the plunger that extends into the barrel, by touching it to any surface or fingers.

Now retrieve the needle package with your non-dominant hand and open it using aseptic technique by peeling the paper packaging at the needle hub end until you are able to grasp the outer cap. You may drop the packaging on the counter. While taking special care not to contaminate the needle hub by touching it to any surface or fingers, connect the needle to the syringe using aseptic technique.

Next, take the cap off the needle and place it on the counter, taking care not to contaminate the point of the needle. Secure the medication vial with your non-dominant hand, insert the needle into the soft rubber portion of the vial, and invert both while holding them together, bringing them to eye-level. Withdraw the appropriate amount of fluid from the vial by drawing back slowly on the syringe plunger until the right medication volume is obtained. Make sure that the needle tip is below the solution level at all times. Assess the syringe for air bubbles and appropriate amount of volume.

You may now withdraw the needle from the vial, taking care not to contaminate the needle tip, and set the vial down on the counter, while keeping the needle and syringe upright in the air. Engage the needle safety device using your dominant thumb, and set the syringe with the needle and the medication down on the counter.

Using tape or a pre-printed medication label, write the medication name and dosage amount on the label and place it on the syringe. Some institutions may require additional information, according to their medication labeling policy. Dispose of any wrappers or packages in the garbage and any empty medication vials in the sharps container, according to institutional policies.

In the medication preparation area, complete the second safety check using the 5 "rights" of medication administration. Finally, gather the needed supplies: an alcohol prep wipe, non-sterile gloves, and two packages of 0.9% saline 5- or 10-mL syringe flushes. Take the supplies into the patient's room.

Upon entering the patient's room, set the medications and supplies down on the counter and wash hands as described before, with vigorous friction for at least 20 seconds. Perform the third and final medication safety check, adhering to the five "rights" of medication administration.

Next, prepare the patient for the intravenous push medication and assess the peripheral intravenous insertion site for redness, swelling, increased or decreased temperature, or bleeding. If any of these conditions are present, have a new PIV placed before administering any medication.

Wash hands as previously described, don clean gloves, and prepare the saline flushes. Open two packages of 0.9% saline syringe by holding the syringe in the dominant hand and unscrewing the syringe cap with the non-dominant hand. Place the cap upright on the table counter, taking care not to contaminate the end of the cap, and gently turn the plunger to "break the seal" on the saline flush. Holding the syringe upright with your non-dominant hand, gently push the plunger with your dominant hand to expel the air. Repeat the same steps to prepare the second saline flush.

Next, to clean the PIV needleless injection site, open an alcohol wipe and hold it with your dominant hand. Holding the PIV needleless injection site with your non-dominant hand, wrap the alcohol wipe around the PIV needleless injection site and scrub the site with friction and intent for at least 15 seconds. Allow the needleless injection site to dry while continuing to hold with your non-dominant hand, taking care not to touch the site.

Holding the PIV needleless injection site between your non-dominant thumb and forefinger, pick up the saline syringe with your other hand, place the syringe cap between the non-dominant middle and ring fingers, and unscrew the cap. Attach the syringe to the needleless port by gently pushing the tip of the syringe into the center portion of the needleless injection site and turning the syringe clockwise.

Now, unclamp the plastic PIV clamp by gently pushing it open, and gently push the plunger on the 0.9% saline syringe to flush the PIV line. While pushing the plunger, assess the PIV insertion site for leaking, swelling, and ease of administration. Ask the patient if they are experiencing any pain as the sterile saline is being pushed into their line. If any of these conditions occur, do not administer the IV push medication. The IV site is no longer appropriate for use and should be replaced.

Unscrew the saline syringe from the needleless injection port and place the used syringe on the counter. Pick up the medication syringe with your dominant hand, grasp the capped needle using the middle and ring fingers of your non-dominant hand, and unscrew and remove the needle. Attach the medication syringe to the needleless port, as described above.

Take care to administer the medication over the appropriate amount of time, as indicated in the nursing drug guide. For instance, if you have 10 mL of fluid to be administered over 1 minute, you should administer 0.5 mL over approximately 3 seconds, in a continuous administration. Avoid pushing a larger volume and then waiting a longer duration, as this would result in administering small doses of the medication at a faster and inappropriate rate.

Continue to hold the needleless injection site with your non-dominant hand, clamp the PIV with your dominant hand, and gently unscrew the medication syringe from the needleless injection port. Place the used syringe on the counter. Administer the post-medication saline flush, as described above, making sure to administer it at the same rate as the medication. Administering the post-medication saline flush at a faster rate than the medication may produce adverse effects, because the drug is still present in the line and will enter the blood stream at an increased rate.

After administration, document the intravenous push medication administration in the patient's EHR, recording the date, time, and location or site of administration. Leave the patient room, and upon exiting, remember to wash your hands as previously described.

"Because dosage variations in the institutional pharmacy may be limited, it is important for the nurse to verify if the correct medication dose is withdrawn from the medication vial and prepared according to the dose indicated in the patient's medication administration record."

"Common errors in intravenous medication administration include pushing medications too quickly, causing adverse reactions; failing to verify medication compatibility with IV fluids; failing to verify IV patency during administration; and contaminating IV hub prior to administration, causing risks of infection and sepsis."

You've just watched JoVE's video on preparation and administration of intravenous push medications. You should now understand how to prepare the medications for administration and the safe practices of medication administration using the five "rights." As always, thanks for watching!

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