Objective. The purpose of this study is to explore current practice regarding insulin administration by nurses in a Greek public hospital.
Design and methods. A mixed-methods qualitative data collection design was used with ad hoc nonparticipant observation and post hoc interviews with the staff involved. Insulin management and administration was observed and compared to international guidelines. A sample of 20 nurses from two medical wards was assessed on 100 occasions of insulin administration, and 8 nurses were subsequently interviewed.
Results. Inter-rater agreement was found to be satisfactory (average κ 0.840). In 61% of all instances, nurses washed their hands before administering insulin, and, in 70%, they donned gloves before injections. In 64.5% of all instances, the nurses did not clean the insulin bottle before inserting the needle, and in 42.7% of instances, they did not check for air bubbles in the syringe. In 89.1% of instances, nurses did not check the injection site for appropriateness or other possible complications. However, in 90.9%, they cleaned the skin at the injection site with an alcohol swab. In 70.9% of all instances, the needle was placed vertically to the skin but without a skinfold. In 89.1% of instances, post-injection care was rated as poor.
Conclusion. Overall, compliance with international guidelines regarding insulin administration techniques, as observed in these sample wards, is not satisfactory. Nurses in this Greek hospital tend to administer subcutaneous injections in ways not reflected in current research findings, practice guidelines, or evidence-based care recommendations. Evidently, Greek nurses in this sample require updating on current evidence-based practice, clinical guidelines, and protocols of care regarding routine insulin administration.
- © 2017 by the American Diabetes Association.
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