12 Tips for Injecting Insulin
Today is just another day of saving lives for you. You are a nurse, after all. As you are scanning through the charts, you notice an order of insulin injections to one patient. Okay, so you have read about those for a few times, but haven’t really done it with your own hands.
How do you do this? What are some tips that one must remember when injecting insulin?
- When you are injecting insulin, you should aim to inject into the fatty tissue just underneath the skin.
- Never mix two types of insulin in one syringe unless you are told to do this. You will also be told which insulin to draw up first. Always do it in that order.
- Check the syringe for air bubbles. Air bubbles in the syringe will not harm the patient if they are injected, but they can reduce the amount of insulin in the syringe. To remove air bubbles, tap the syringe so the air bubbles rise to the top and push up on the plunger to remove the air bubbles. Recheck the dose and add more insulin to the syringe if necessary.
- When injecting at the Stomach: Stay at least two inches away from the bellybutton or any scars the patient may already have when using the abdomen for injections.
- When injecting at the Thigh: Inject at least 4 inches or about one hand’s width above the knee and at least 4 inches down from the top of the leg. The best area is the top and outer area of the thigh. Remember not to inject insulin into the inner thigh because of the number of blood vessels and nerves in this area.
- When injecting at the Arm: Inject into fatty tissue in the back of the arm between the shoulder and the elbow.
- When injecting at the Buttock: Inject into the hip or “wallet area” and not into the lower buttock area.
- When rotating sites within one injection area, keep injections about an inch (or two finger widths) apart.
- Do not inject into scar tissue or areas with broken vessels or varicose veins as scar tissue may interfere with absorption.
- Massage or exercise that occurs immediately after the injection may speed up absorption because of the increased circulation to the injection site. If the patient plans on strenuous physical activity shortly after injecting insulin, don’t inject in an area affected by the exercise.
- After the dose has been injected, hold the needle in for a good 10 seconds to prevent too much insulin from escaping out
- When injecting with an insulin pen, inject straight in and be sure to hold the pen in place for a few seconds after the insulin is delivered to ensure that no insulin leaks out.