This may be a silly question..

  1. ..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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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   OB-nurse2013
    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.
  4. by   skulskcc01
    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.
  5. by   CBLNurse2Be
    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.
  6. by   Double-Helix
    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.
  7. by   CBLNurse2Be
    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.
  8. by   KatePasa
    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.
  9. by   VivaLasViejas
    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.
  10. by   CBLNurse2Be
    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!
  11. by   Katie71275
    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
  12. by   amoLucia
    In my LTC positions, I'd be lucky just if I could find the scope and ear covers! Not too much use on 11-7, but I have used it.
  13. by   classicdame
    think of the otoscope as the stethoscope. You can assess, but you cannot diagnose. Will depend on where you practice as how often you use various types of equipment.
  14. by   BelleNscrubs04
    We learned...sort of. We covered them briefly in health assessment and then again in 3rd semester med surg. I think it's part of our state mandated curriculum. We didn't spend much time on them. We mostly just played around with them looking in each other's ears. The instructors seemed to think that knowing how to recognize one and put it together was most important.

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