Medication administration via enteral tubes: a survey of nurses’ practices
Version of Record online: 18 MAY 2011
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Volume 67, Issue 12, pages 2586–2592, December 2011
How to Cite
Phillips, N. M. and Endacott, R. (2011), Medication administration via enteral tubes: a survey of nurses’ practices. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 67: 2586–2592. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2011.05688.x
- Issue online: 20 NOV 2011
- Version of Record online: 18 MAY 2011
- Accepted for publication 26 February 2011
- enteral medication administration;
- patient safety;
- questionnaire survey
phillips n.m. & endacott r. (2011) Medication administration via enteral tubes: a survey of nurses’ practices. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(12), 2586–2592.
Aim. This article is a report of a study examining the practices of acute care nurses when administering medication via enteral tubes.
Background. Administering medication via enteral tubes is predominantly a nursing responsibility across countries. It is important to establish what nurses actually do when giving enteral medication to inform policy and continuing education development.
Method. In 2007, a survey was conducted using a random sample of acute care nurses at two large metropolitan hospitals in Melbourne, Australia. There were 181 Registered Nurses who participated in the study; 92 (50·8%) practised in intensive care units, 52 (28·7%) in surgical areas, 30 (16·6%) in medical areas and 7 (3·9%) were from combined medical–surgical areas. The questionnaire was developed by the researchers and a pilot study was conducted in August 2006 to test reliability, face validity and user-friendliness of the tool.
Results. Nurses reported using a range of methods to verify enteral tube position prior to administering enteral medication; some were unreliable methods. A majority reported administering enteric-coated and slow or extended release forms of medication, and giving solid forms of medication when liquid form was available. Nearly all (96%) reported flushing a tube after giving medication, 28% before, and 12% always flushed between each medication.
Conclusion. Enteral medication administration practices are inconsistent. Some nurses are using unsafe practices and may therefore compromise patient care.