Chapter 6. Non-Parenteral Medication Administration

6.1 Introduction

The nurse is the health care professional who will administer medication. This chapter describes responsibilities related to nurses in the administration of all medications except parenteral (see Chapter 7). Medications can be administered by a variety of routes or methods, each determined by the different preparations of drugs that influence the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (pharmacokinetics) in the body. It is imperative that the appropriate form of a drug be administered.

Every medication has the potential to harm a patient. Nurses must be aware that:

  • No medication is completely¬†safe and absolutely free of nontherapeutic effects.
  • Medication interactions are common in individuals taking many medications.
  • When one medication modifies the action of another, a medication interaction occurs (Perry, Potter, & Ostendorf, 2014).

The nurse administering medication is responsible for ensuring full understanding of medication administration and its implications for patient safety.

Learning Objectives

  • Discuss steps for ensuring safe medication administration
  • Discuss factors that contribute to medication errors
  • List and discuss the seven rights of medication administration
  • Outline procedures for administering medication safely via the following routes:
    • Mouth¬†and gastric tube
    • Rectally and vaginally
    • Eyes, ears, and nose
    • Inhalation and topically
  • Outline steps for teaching patient self-administration of medication


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Clinical Procedures for Safer Patient Care Copyright © 2015 by Glynda Rees Doyle and Jodie Anita McCutcheon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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