UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MEDICAL FOUNDATION
CLINICAL POLICY AND PROCEDURE
TITLE: COLLECTING A THROAT CULTURE
Effective Date: February, 2004 Approval: See Authorization
Supersedes Protocol: None Contact: Clinical Staff Education
Reviewed April 2005 May 2008 November 2012 November 2013
PURPOSE: To provide guidelines for collecting a throat culture at University of Wisconsin Medical
Foundation (UWMF) or Department of Family Medicine (DFM) clinics.
DEFINITION: A throat culture may be needed for patients who present with signs or symptoms of an upper
respiratory, throat, or sinus infection.
POLICY: The clinical staff will utilize the following guidelines to properly collect a throat culture on a UWMF
or DFM patient.
SUPPLIES: Tongue blade, Sterile cotton-tipped swab(s)
Gloves, Biohazard bag, Provider’s order, Patient’s record
1. Wash hands and gather equipment.
2. Check provider’s order and clarify any inconsistencies.
3. Introduce yourself and identify the patient, including full name and date of birth.
4. Explain procedure to the patient and assist patient to a comfortable position.
5. Provide good light and provide privacy by closing curtains or door.
6. Put on gloves.
7. Place fingers of non-swabbing hand below person chin and have them push against fingers, opening mouth,
and saying ‘Ah’.
NOTE: To assist the patient in opening the mouth, place tongue blades gently down on the tongue,
while the patient is saying ‘Ah’.
8. Swab the pharynx (sides of the back of the throat) with a sweeping motion from one tonsil across to the
NOTE: If a rapid strep test is requested, a ‘double swab’ must be completed.
9. When finished, assist the patient to a comfortable position.
10. Label the swab/container, with the following information:
Patient’s label with name, MRN
Name of test
Date and time of collection
11. Place swab into a biohazard bag.
12. Remove gloves and dispose in appropriate container.
13. Wash hands.
14. Immediately take the specimen to the lab.
15. Document in the patient’s record:
Education to patient regarding procedure
Name of test and source of specimen
Date and time of specimen collection
How the patient tolerated the procedure
WRITTEN BY: Ronnie Peterson, R.N., M.S., Manager of Clinical Support
REVIEWED BY: Brenda Maass, UWMF Phlebotomy Supervisor, 2013
LaVay Morrison, RN, BSN, Clinical Staff Educator, 2013
Kowalak, J. P. (Ed.). (2009). Lippincott’s nursing procedures (5th ed.). Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams &
Perry, A.G. & Potter, P.A. (2009). Fundamentals of nursing. (7th ed.). Hall, A. & Stockert, P.A. (Eds.). St.
Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier.
AUTHORIZED BY: Richard Welnick, MD, Medical Director, Ambulatory Clinic Operations, UWMF
Sandra A. Kamnetz M.D., Vice Chair, Department of Family Medicine
Medical Director, UWMF Date
Vice Chair, Department of Family Medicine Date