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Practicing NG Tube on each other?


I am in the process of applying to a local LPN program as soon as I get all my ducks in a row. I have been doing a lot of searching as to what all tasks a LPN can and cannot perform in my state and what is required for LPN's the learn in school. I have a general idea. My only fear at this point when it comes to school is if they will ask me to allow other students to practice inserting a NG tube on me. I am fine with shots and IV's and even bed baths as long as I can keep some undies on. I just have a very big fear of things in my nose/mouth/throat and gagging. I know it seems silly but I just...I can't help it. So I was wondering if anyone knows if this is done in Arkansas. Thank you!

Double-Helix, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU. Has 9 years experience.

I have never once heard of practicing NG tubes on other students, and I would see no reason to do so. Everyone has nostrils, an esophagus and a stomach. Inserting an NG really isn't that hard and it's not a skill that you need to practice on a real person in order to master. I wouldn't worry about this being an issue. You can always politely refuse to participate if the issue arises.

Sun0408, ASN, RN

Specializes in Trauma Surgical ICU. Has 4 years experience.

We did not do that on each other in my RN program, nor did we do shot, IV's etc.. We did do bed baths on each other but we were fully clothed and no real water was used.. Its all about technique :)

guest042302019, BSN, RN

Specializes in Progressive, Intermediate Care, and Stepdown.

I've heard of this. My teacher told us when she was in nursing school they used to do that. To feel what the patient felt. I imagine you'll have a simulation, life like person to practice on. Refusal is what I would do if I wasn't comfortable if you're school still practices this. With insurance and lawsuits, I'd be surprised though. Including practicing IVs and such on each other.

morningstarRN, RN

Specializes in Triage, Trauma, Ambulatory Care. Has 3 years experience.

In my RN program we practiced bed baths on each other with shorts and t shirts, IV starts, Injections, and much more. We did not do NG tubes. We were told we could decline the practice if we were uncomfortable with it. I have to say even though some were not comfortable they did not want to stand out and decline to be used in the practice. We all took deep breaths and went for it. :) Quite the experience but it sure did leave us with some funny memories.

Thank you so much!! I was really starting to be a little upset about it....I didn't know if I could refuse and still pass if it actually came down to it. I was wondering about the insurance aspect of it, some of the practicing could get a little costly if a mistake was made. I'm not even for sure what all a LPN is required to learn/can do here. So I'm not even sure if it would come up...but I was still worried lol. Thank you all again!


Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 2 years experience.

We used dummies for this. No practicing of shots on each other either r|t risk of hepatitis. You will do just fine!


Specializes in Cardiac Care.

We used the manikins in lab for NGT placement. Also most schools have done away with even practicing IV insertion on each other as well. That tends to be saved for clinical in most cases due to liability.

We did however practice positioning and assessments on each other.

Dixielee, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 38 years experience.

I've heard of this. My teacher told us when she was in nursing school they used to do that. To feel what the patient felt.

Yikes! Using that logic, we all need to experience lumbar punctures, chest tubes, foley's and enemas!!

KelRN215, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pedi. Has 10 years experience.

I've never heard of having to practice NG tube insertion on each other in school. Most schools these days have simulation labs and you put one in the dummy's nose to practice.

And Ashley makes a good point... placing an NG tube is not like placing an IV. You just need to know how to measure the tube and there's not much to it. You put it in the nostril and push until you get to the correct measurement, there's not much "technique" to it.

I did know nurses on my old floor who let new nurses drop one on them because they wanted to see what it felt like. They allowed it to happen once and only once. I would not allow anyone to come near me with an NG tube!

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 40 years experience.

I went to school in the dark ages and although we practiced IV's on each other as well as injections. The experimentation stopped there. We got our positioning and and bathing/bedmaking at the local nursing home.

Oh me, my class had to. It was in 1982 so it was ages ago. It was horrifying! I remember it was Bev, one of my good friends who did me. She inserted the tube about an inch per painful, grueling, minute. When she finally got to the stomach and the instructor was satisfied I pushed her back and yanked it out. I do have to admit I am really sympathetic to anyone with such a device. We did bed baths, IM, SQ, and IVs on each other too. I am glad we have moved forward and left the past behind. :)

applewhitern, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 30 years experience.

We inserted IV's on each other, plus gave each other injections. Never an NG tube tho; I would have to draw the line at that!

AgentBeast, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology and ER Nursing. Has 7 years experience.

I'd let someone practice brain surgery on me before I let someone practice inserting an NG tube on me.


Specializes in Emergency Nursing. Has 5 years experience.

The only time I ever heard of students inserting NG tubes on each other was from an LVN, recently. You can always refuse anything, though, just like a patient.

i beg to differ on #10's description of placing ng tubes. there are some considerations besides measure, lube it up, and shove.

1) get the ok to use lidocaine jelly instead of ky. numb that sucker up. soften the tube in warm water to make it a little more flexible.

2) explain, explain, explain. "i'm going to put this tube through your nose and down your throat to your stomach... i'll use some sterile jelly to help it slip through ... you will be able to breathe... i'll have you swallow a little water to help us move it along easily. ready?"

3) remember how you hyperextend the neck to open the airway? you flex the neck to get something down the esophagus (same as you do to feed someone with a weak airway protection reflex). sit the patient up as high as possible, if you can. chin down decreases the chances of your going down his trachea. sitting upright also puts your face even with his, a less dominant and threatening position when you're doing something necessary but nasty.

4) the swallow reflex is your friend, and can also help distract the patient from the vision of your hand approaching his nose to advance the tube some more. say, "swallow," preferably with a straw to take sip of water with it, and advance as you see the swallow occurring in the neck. repeat, repeat, repeat. i know he's npo, but you're gonna get it right back as soon as you hook him up to suction.

5) if your patient is unconscious and cannot help you with any of this, it's sometimes helpful to put your first two fingers over the tongue and into the pharynx (be sure he's unconscious!) to help guide it straight down posteriorly (behind the epiglottis, avoiding trachea which is anterior). hold the fingers together and feel the tube slide parallel along and past them, along the dorsum from knuckle to fingernails. guide that puppy posteriorly with straight fingers until you are sure you're past the epiglottis.

avoid pushing hard at all times. one of my favorite x-rays of all times is a levine tube curled up in two graceful loops in the frontal lobes, having been pushed right through the pituitary fossa. adequate lube should get you going in the right direction, but if it gets stuck and you just can't advance it anymore, get help.

Dixielee, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 38 years experience.

Grn Tea, great description of the proper way to do it! The lube and shove method is the fastest way to getting things slapped out of your hands, nosebleeds and an agitated patient that is not likely to let you complete the task! It is also so much easier if you have two people. One can be on one side of the bed offering sips of water and offering comfort and explanation, while the other prepares the equipment. The second person can verify placement while you hold the tube in place as well. It is much faster and less chaotic.

I also found the best way to secure it is to take a plain bandaid (cloth ones work best), cut one end of it in half, leaving two strips. Remove the telfa part. Once you have the tube in the proper place, put the uncut end of the bandaid over the tip of the nose, and then wrap the two cut ends around the tube going in opposite directions. It is so much faster and neater than cutting a bunch of little strips of tape and stays in place better.