UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MEDICAL FOUNDATION
CLINICAL POLICY AND PROCEDURE
TITLE: ADMINISTERING ORAL MEDICATIONS
Effective Date: February, 2002 Approval: See Authorization
Supersedes Protocol: None Contact: Clinical Staff Education
Reviewed October, 2003 March, 2005 March, 2008 October 2011
PURPOSE: To provide guidelines for administering oral medications at UWMF Clinics.
POLICY: Clinical staff will utilize the following guidelines to administer all oral medications to all UWMF
patients. The preparation and administration of a medication should be completed by the same person.
DEFINITION: Oral medications are available in various liquid and solid forms, with each type requiring
special consideration when administering. For example, enteric-coated tablets should never be crushed, and
sublingual medications should be placed under the client’s tongue. Unless the client has impaired
gastrointestinal functioning or is unable to swallow, an oral medication is the safest and easiest to give.
SUPPLIES: Provider’s order, Patient record, Medication(s), Glass of water or juice
Optional: straw, pill crusher or spilter
1. Check the name and dose of each medication against the provider’s order. Clarify any inconsistencies.
2. Identify the patient: include date of birth and verify allergies.
3. Know medication’s actions, special considerations, safe-dose ranges, purpose of administration, and adverse
effects. For example:
Most oral medications can be taken at same time.
Some oral medications may NOT be taken together. Check with online pharmacy if needed.
Some medications require pre-administration assessments such as pulse or blood pressure
4. Wash hands then gather equipment
5. Prepare medication, adhering to the five rights of drug administration.
Right – drug, dose, time, route, patient
Check the expiration date of the medication
6. Provide patient education:
Explain medication(s), reason(s) for the medication(s), and administration technique (swallow, chew,
sublinqual, etc.) to patient
Explain sensations to expect during administration (dryness, strange taste in mouth, etc.).
7. Offer water or other permitted fluids with pills, capsules, tablets, and liquid medications.
8. Ask patient’s preference regarding how medications will be taken, by hand, in a cup, one at a time, or all at
9. Remain with patient until each medication is swallowed. Unless staff member has seen patient swallow
drug, she/he cannot record drug as having been administered.
10. Wash hands.
11. Monitor patient for allergic reaction with symptoms such as SOB, difficulty swallowing, hives or itching
and other complaints.
12. Perform discharge teaching regarding new medications.
13. Document (Progress Notes in HealthLink utilizing SmartPhrase: .medinclinic)
Manufacture, Lot #, Expiration date (as indicated)
VIS# (if applicable)
Name, dosage, route of medication, and time given
Assessment and laboratory results relevant to purpose of the medication
Effects of the medication on patient
Teaching about the drug or administration technique
How patient tolerated procedure, i.e., desired effect, adverse reactions
REVISED BY: Carol Decker, RN, MSN, Clinical Staff Educator
REVIEWED BY: LaVay Morrison, RN, BSN, Clinical Staff Educator
WRITTEN BY: Ronnie Peterson, R.N., M.S., Manager of Clinical Support
Kowalak, J. P. (Ed.). (2009). Lippincott’s nursing procedures (5th ed.). Ambler, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Perry, A.G. & Potter, P.A. (2002). Clinical nursing skills & techniques. (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
Perry, A.G. & Potter, P.A. (2009). Fundamentals of nursing. (7th ed.). Hall, A. & Stockert, P.A. (Eds.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby
Medical Director Date