This may be a silly question..

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    ..but google has failed to answer it, or either my googling skills are off today.

    As nurses, will we be taught to use otoscopes to check for ear infections and such? Or is that out of the scope of practice? I was just curious because there is a chapter on it in my "Made Incredibly Visual: Health Assessment" book and I thought those books were made specifically for nurses/nursing students. (at least I thought that's what their website said.. But I could very well be wrong!)

    Thanks!
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  3. 23 Comments so far...

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    Yes, we did that as part of our health assessment class in my first semester. I will say I haven't done or seen this done at clinicals though. Thats similar to many of the focused assessment skills we learned but I suppose depending on where we work as a nurse would tell you what skills you would use mostly.
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    In my Level I Health Assessment class we were taught how to use the otoscope and how to identify a "healthy" ear versus one that is diseased.
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    I was thinking this may come in handy with my kiddos! Lol. Or is that frowned upon? It'd be nice to be able to check though.. Because you never know. That way you aren't making that hour long drive for nothing. Hehe.
    L&DRegisteredNurse likes this.
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    I don't remember learning to use an otoscope in nursing school. Now I work as a pediatric nurse, and it's the doctor's job to use the otoscope to assess the eyes and ears. We don't use them as nurses.
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    Quote from Ashley, PICU RN
    I don't remember learning to use an otoscope in nursing school. Now I work as a pediatric nurse, and it's the doctor's job to use the otoscope to assess the eyes and ears. We don't use them as nurses.
    I was thinking I've never seen a nurse use one before. I've seen a NP use one before, of course. It'd be a cool thing to learn though, if we get to.
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    We learned to use them and how to idenifty what was normal/abnormal. Nurses around here use them too. Any diagnostic activity would be handed off to the doc, but assessing the inner ear is definitely nursing scope.
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    In LTC, I've used an otoscope many times to check for the presence of cerumen or assess for signs of infection (you can see the TMs with the 'scope, and if they're red they're probably brewing an ear infection). There's no special skill to it, you just have to know what you're looking for.
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    I'm excited to see if we learn this or not! That incredibly easy book is very useful but I keep thinking I'm never going to remember it all!
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    We learned how to use them, but for the most part that is the doctor/NP's job. I have 4 children, and the nurses have never assessed the ears/eyes aside from hearing test and visual testing.
    Been to the ER before as well with kids, and again, it's always the NP/Doc who does it


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