I was wondering why nurses aren't allowed to give high flow O2 without a doctors order (at least in CA). The reason I ask is that I am currently working as an EMT (until I start nursing school
) and I regularly respond to calls at SNFs where a patient is in respiratory distress and the nurse only has them on a cannula a 2-3 liters (and the machine only goes up to 5). I've heard this is because they need a doctors order to put them on high flow. Is there something I don't know about O2? Thanks.
Feb 3, '05
The regulations surrounding this question relates to the fact that oxygen is a DRUG. You need a doctor's order to administer a drug. It doesn't have anything to do with the hypoxic drive (but of course you have to take that into considersation when administering 02).
I would do, and have done too many times to count, the exact same thing that Angie O Plasty stated. The other RN's I work with as well as my NM would ream me if I didn't treat low sats with 02 while waiting for more difinitive treatment. BUT, I work in an ICU, not LTC, but I think I would still do the same thing.
bruinlaura - I would think that you have standing orders or a protocol signed by your EMS director, an MD, to be able to administer 02 and that's why you can do it. Frequently nurses don't have these things to work with and must call the doc to be in compliance with their nurse practice act. Also - I frequently blow the 02 into a patients mouth via their nc if they are mouth breathing and asleep. If it doesn't work with up to 6 liters nc, I'll put a mask or face tent on them.
Last edit by begalli on Feb 3, '05