Administration of medicines: Questions to ask

Last updated: Saturday, February 04, 2017

The types of clinical problem you will encounter involving the administration of medicines are very diverse. So it's impossible to give you comprehensive guidance for every eventuality.

However  the following examples may help you:

  • If asked about administration of a drug intravenously think about: dose, type of infusion fluid, fluid volume, rate of administration, availability of IV access, and whether any other drugs are being given IV.

  • If you are advising about whether drugs may be put down enteral feeding tubes, ask about the type of tube, where the end of the tube is, and the feeding regimen. Think about alternative administration routes or drugs. Some patients who need a tube can still take medicines by mouth, so remember to check this.

  • If your clinical problem concerns a patient who is NBM prior to surgery establish the drugs and doses, and how long they are likely to be NBM. Again think about alternative administration routes or alternative drugs.

  • Similarly if a patient becomes dysphagic, ask about the drugs and doses, and when/whether their swallow is expected to improve.

There are also some more general questions to ask when problem solving.