How a Nurse Can Administer Oxygen to Patients


Nurses can administer oxygen to patients in hospitals, but this administrate of oxygen is a dependent function requiring the physicians order indicating method of administration, amount of oxygen given by liters per minute the percentage of oxygen concentration and time or frequency of administration.

Because it is given as a drug, the nurse follows some guidelines for safety in administration.  In extreme emergencies, the nurse administers oxygen following collaborative practice and policy guidelines. The volume and flow rate should be checked and recorded.

Requirements needed for oxygen administration:

Oxygen cylinder with oxygen including the accessories:

Oxygen flowmeter




Pressure guage


(1)  Asphyxia

(2)  Hypoxia

(3)  Respiratory distress

(4)  Cardiac Arrest


The following items are arranged on a top shelf of the trolley:

Galipot contain a water soluble lubricant

Receiver containing sterile catheter

Receiver containing tape and scissors

Galipot containing distilled or sterile water

Receiver containing sterile cotton wool swabs

Receiver for used swabs



Explain to the client why he is to receive oxygen

Explain and demonstrate the method of administration

Answer any Question

Place a sign “Oxygen in use” “No Smoking” on the client’s room door and his bed.

Explain hazards to the client

Wash and dry hands

Place client in a semi-fowler’s position

Cut a 4.5 length of tape. Make a vertical cut about2 inches from one end and set within reach

Remove packing from the catheter and discard

Hold the tip of the catheter near the client’s nostril and measure the length to the earlobe

Mark the measured length with an indelible pen or piece of tape

Attach the stalk end of the catheter to the oxygen tubing

Open the oxygen flow to the prescribed rate, usually4-6 liters for adult and 0.5 – 4 liters for children

Check for patency of the tube with sterile water

Lubricate the tip of the catheter with water-soluble lubricant

Insert the catheter gently into one nostril, guiding it medially along the floor of the nasal cavity until the marked point is at the vestibule of the nasal cavity until

The marked point is at the vestibule of the nostril

Hold the catheter in position

Instruct the client to open her mouth wide.

Place the uncut end of adhesive lengthwise on the client nose.

Wrap the two ends around the catheter securing it in place

Secure the oxygen tubing to the client clothing allowing slack for movement

Check the flow meter at intervals to determine the correct flow rate

Monitor the client vital signs, level of awareness degree of anxiety and other signs of hypoxia at frequent intervals

Determine if the expected outcomes have been achieved by reassessing the client for:

Adequate blood and tissue oxygen concentrations as confirmed by respiratory rate and depth within normal range, normal skin colour, PQ2 between 30 and 100mmttg

Absence of skin or muscular irritation or disruption

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