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Throat Cultures - Module 11: Specimen Collection - Diploma in Nursing and Patient Care
One means of gathering information about the patient's health status is by identifying pathogens and analyzing urine, blood, sputum, and feces. As a practical nurse, you may be responsible for collecting and labeling specimen for analysis and ensuring their delivery to the lab.
For self-protection and to prevent the spread of disease, wear gloves whenever you work with body fluids. Washing your hands carefully also prevents the spread of disease.
After completing this lesson, you should be able to:
• Understand the principles, procedures with the supplies, equipment used to obtain a sample for throat culture.
• Learn what supplies and equipment are required to perform a Throat Culture.
Throat cultures are done to isolate and identify any pathogens, which may be medium. The slide or medium is incubated in the laboratory to determine which organisms causing a throat disorder. A sample of mucus and secretions from the back of the throat is collected on a cotton-tipped applicator and applied to a slide or culture are present. A determination of which drug is most effective against a particular organism may be done also. A full culture and sensitivity test takes several days because the organisms must have time to grow. If strep infection is suspected a quick strep test may be done, so that antibiotic therapy can be started immediately.
SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT
The supplies and equipment required to obtain a sample for throat culture are:
• Sterile cotton-tipped applicator specimen collection kit (culturette).
• Tongue depressor.
• Laboratory request form.
PROCEDURE FOR A THROAT CULTURE
Always wash your hands before the procedure.
Explain to the patient what you are going to do.
Have the patient sit comfortably on a bed or chair and tilt his head back.
a. Use the flashlight to illuminate the back of the throat. Check for inflamed areas using the tongue depressor.
b. Ask the patient to say "Ahhh" as you swab the tonsillar areas from side to side. Be sure to include any inflamed of purulent sites.
c. Avoid touching the tongue, cheeks, or teeth with the applicator, as this will contaminate it with oral bacteria.
d. Place the cotton-tipped applicator into the culture tube immediately.
e. Label the culture tube with the patient's name, SSN, and ward number if applicable.
f. Complete the request form (SF 553) with the following information:
(1) Patient's name.
(2) Patient's rank or status.
(3) Family member prefix and sponsor's social security number.
(4) Ward number if inpatient, or phone number if outpatient.
(5) Source of the specimen (that is, throat).
(6) Any antibiotics the patient is taking.
(7) Date and time the specimen was obtained.
(8) Name of the physician who ordered the culture.