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Would you ever ask another nurse to give your pt a suppository?

Would you ever ask another nurse to insert a suppository into your pt?

  1. 1. Would you ever ask another nurse to insert a suppository into your pt?

    • No. I would feel guilty and would delegate another nursing responsibility to them instead.
    • Yes, I dont want to do it either!
    • Yes, but I would feel guilty/bad about it.
    • Yes, to help teammate since turning patient on side for skin assessment.

174 members have participated

I am a skin and wound resource nurse for my unit and I have to do PU prevalence for my unit every wednesday. I have to turn 30 pts and assess their skin for PUs and clean BMs with the nurse if we find them, I even change dsgs for them of it is a PU underneath. I was taken aback when I was asked by 2 nurses yesterday "while im on that side can you place this suppository?" These are the only 2 favors I was asked to do all day also. I felt put on the spot and taken advanage of - I have never thought of asking another nurse to do this for me, I tend to think that people would prefer to do this as minimally as possible and you are expected to do the dirty work for you own pts. What do you think? Was I being a poor sport about it or were they taking advantage of me?

I wouldn't be offended or upset about administering a suppository because I was in a better position to do so during the turn and clean. However, it is nice if those sort of functions are discussed in the preturn planning of the care so that I have an opportunity to know exactly what I am giving and why for my professional needs and documentation purposes.

I am not a fan of "that's not my job" mentality in a team environment.


Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

I couldn't answer the poll because you left out the option of not having a problem with giving it. You were only asked twice to help, and yet you felt put upon?

I would have had no problem because I see the convenience of doing something when the chance presents itself. Why turn and reposition the patient twice, when you can get two tasks completed with only disturbing the patient once?


Has 25 years experience. Specializes in corrections and LTC.

I would ask to come in and insert the suppository myself while the pt was on their side.

Emergent, RN

Has 27 years experience.

Putting in a suppository is one of the simpler nursing tasks. You were there in perfect position, you are a nurse, so it makes a whole lot of sense to ask you to do it.


Has 1 years experience.

Taken advantage of for placing a suppos when you were already back there? Nope not at all. I would consider you being taken advantage of if they handed you all there medications and said hey can you administer these and do there assessment while you're with them. I have inserted suppositories for other nurses, because I was in the better position to do so during repositioning. I have also had other nurses help me out and do the same. Thankfully, we are all team players and see that every patient is our patient regardless of the assignment.

roser13, ASN, RN

Has 17 years experience. Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC.

Putting the patient first, of course I would do it, and do it cheerfully. I seriously don't understand how you felt put out? What a small request and so easy to do.

I also did not answer your poll because an appropriate answer was not available.

Edited by roser13


Has 6 years experience.

Yes - you are being unreasonable. If you're turning the patient and have them on their side, there is absolutely no reason why you can't insert a suppository.

Pepper The Cat, BSN, RN

Has 34 years experience. Specializes in Gerontology.

I never considered that giving a suppository was dirty work. You have the diaper open, and the patient on their side. It takes, what, 10 seconds to put the supp in. Instead,you want to wait until you are done and have reapplied yge diaper and repositioned the pt. the nurse then comes back in, re opens the diaper, turns the pt again and gives the supp.

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

I would have no problem administering a suppository.

Have a feeling you are difficult to work with. Do you ever get those vibes?

KelRN215, BSN, RN

Has 10 years experience. Specializes in Pedi.

I don't see the issue. You are already back there. Administering a suppository takes 3 seconds.

No Stars In My Eyes

Has 43 years experience. Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN.

If I was working with someone I knew was prissy, I'd just say, "Wait! Hold 'em over so I can slide this little thing in before you're through!"

But, basically, if you're already in range and position.....luck of the draw, I say!


Has 1 years experience. Specializes in Med-Surg.

A little off topic, but I don't get why nurses ever think giving a suppository is dirty work. It takes all of a minute to turn a patient, lube up, and insert. It's one of the easiest medications to give! I would rather do that then wait twenty minutes while someone takes their 15 pills one at a time.

Anyway. I think the rationale behind these nurses asking you to give a suppository while doing a skin check makes a lot of of sense. I know some of my patients (especially the kind who come with pressure ulcers) experience a lot of pain when turning. It makes sense to turn them as required, but not excessively to prevent pain. If you were doing a skin check on this type of patient I wouldn't have a problem asking you to do a suppository.

I am sorry you feel like you were getting taken advantage of. I think patients get the best care when we work together as a team, even if we don't have to.


Specializes in critical care.

I find this to being akin to rushing like a mad woman to the room when I see our techs going in for a bed bath. I'm sure the tech is secretly groaning a little because me doing my assessment from the back is going to slow them down a little, but for many of these patients, getting turned is genuinely painful. Plus I get to help the tech with the bath, which gets the shift off to a good start with them since they see I really mean it when I say I want to help when I am able.

It surprises me that you feel put out by this because you are a nurse, and because being in wound care, you should be seeing with your own eyes the difficulty some patients have with basic movements. I'm surprised that you don't recognize and embrace the benefits of clustering care, like administering a suppository while a patient is already in a convenient position to do so.

MunoRN, RN

Has 10 years experience. Specializes in Critical Care.

I wouldn't have any problem with it and don't find this to be all that unusual. Assuming both nurses are right handed, it's far easier for the nurse on the patient's right to place the suppository, otherwise you're doing it 'backhanded' or left handed. Plus, it takes all of 2-3 seconds.


Has 2 years experience.

It wouldn't have even crossed my mind that I was being taken advantage of. That nurse WAS, though, taking advantage of a situation which would allow her to cluster care and save time, both are which good nursing habits.

Of course nobody looks forward to giving suppositories, but it also wouldn't have occurred to me that another nurse would have been seriously put out by being asked to do so. I'm more leery of asking for favors that require lots of time, and this probably didn't take a full 30 seconds.

OP, I'm curious, what would you have done if you were that nurse?

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

As resource nurse, do you have a patient assignment on the day you do skin checks? I could see you having a problem if you do have a patient assignment you need to manage in between checking all the patients, or maybe there is a slippery slope in nurses expecting you to do more and more of their care?

If this isn't a problem, I would have given the suppository.

HappyWife77, BSN, RN

Has 20 years experience. Specializes in Gerontology RN-BC and FNP MSN student.

No problem doing it here, it seems it would kill two birds with one stone, while assessing the patient and administering the suppositories, it saves the patient from having to get in the same position twice.

And it's really about the patient's comfort rather than our own...isn't it?

mmc51264, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Has 8 years experience. Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes.

i would rather give suppositories than apply TED hose. I hate TED hose!!!!!


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