Eight common routes of administering medication to patients

It is the responsibility of the nurse to provide the correct medication to the correct patient at the correct time in the correct dosage and also through the correct route.

What is the correct route?  There is not one correct route but eight correct routes through which medication can be administered to a patient, depending upon the requirement of the treatment and the mode of administering the medication.

A nurse should follow the correct route of administering the medication to the patient.

The first common route of medication is through the PO, in medical terms.  PO refers to administering medication by oral means in the mouth – either as a tablet, capsule or as a syrup.  When the patient is to be provided a tablet or syrup, then PO is the best route of medication.

The second route for administering medication is the sublingual form where the medication is administered not orally but from under the tongue of the patient.

The third form of administering medication is through the skin, wherein the advised medication is spread over on the skin – such as creams.  The third form of medication is called as topical medication.

If the medication is administered through the skin into the body, then it is referred to as subcutaneous mode of medication.  In subcutaneous method, the adipose tissue is located by the nurse, and once found, the medication is administered at a 45 degree angle preferably using a long needle.

The fifth form of medication is called as intramuscular medication. As the name suggests, the medication is administered through the muscles in to the body.  For intramuscular medication, the nurse has to use a relatively longer needle and should administer the dosage keeping the needle at 90 degree, such that the needle passes through the adipose tissue into the muscle for administering the dosage into the muscle.

The sixth route of medication is intravenous method.  In this form, the medication is administered through the veins in the body.  The ideal example for intravenous medication is administering saline or glucose to the patient.

The seventh route of medication is the rectal method, where the medication is administered through the rectum, a part of the large intestine.

The eighth mode of medication is the intrathecal method, where the medication is administered into the spinal cord of the patient.  Normally, this type of medication is not done by the cna or the registered nurse, but only under the supervision of a trained physician or specialist doctor.

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