How Is A Sputum Specimen Collected In The Morning
When a specimen of sputum is requested, it is usually best to get it from the patient in the early morning before he or she has had anything to drink and before cleaning his or her teeth. You should be able to explain to the patient that it must be coughed up from the lungs and not consist of post-nasal discharge.
A wide-mouthed properly labelled sterile flask is used. It is usually given to the patient and he or she is asked to cough up the sputum and deposit it in the flask. It is then sent to the laboratory with the necessary requisition form which has been signed by a doctor.
When a specimen of sputum is required from young children who cannot be made to understand what is required, it may be necessary to wash out the stomach with plain water to get a specimen.
SPECIMEN OF VOMIT OR EMESIS
Vomitus is usually collected in a special container which has a fitting lid. Each hospital has its own design and the nurse should be familiar with that design. The whole of the vomitus may be retained for inspection or a specimen may be taken from the total amount, placed in a clearly labelled container and sent to the laboratory. It is usually necessary to measure the amount of vomitus passed.
MEASUREMENT AND CHARTING OF FLUID INTAKE AND OUTPUT
This is the duty of a nurse which also falls on every member of the nursing staff in a hospital staff in a hospital ward. The accuracy with which it is done is of extreme importance as the physician or surgeon may base his judgement of the patient’s progress on his reading of this particular chart. As he or she is with the countless duties which must be performed in the ward, the nurse must appreciate the importance of careful and accurate measurement and charting of each episode of intake and output. It is a duty which is continuous throughout the twenty-four hours.
THE ROUTES WHICH THE PATIENT MAY BE GIVEN FLUID
- By mouth
- By intravenous injection
- By rectum
- By subcutaneous injection
ROUTES BY WHICH FLUID IS LOST
- In the faeces
It is possible for the nurse to measure the amount lost from the body in the form of urine and vomitus but only a rough estimate of the amount lost by the other two routes can be made. The nurse should mark on the intake and output chart when the patient has his or her bowels open.
Each hospital has its own type of fluid balance chart with which the nurse should familiarise himself or herself.