How to administer an enema
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How to administer an enema

Ian Peate Professor of nursing, Gibraltar Health Authority, Gibraltar

Rationale and key points

This article aims to help nurses to undertake the administration of enemas in a safe, effective and patient-centred manner, ensuring privacy and dignity. The administration of an enema is a common healthcare procedure, which can be used to deliver medication or aid bowel evacuation.

The administration of an enema should be undertaken by a competent nurse.

An enema is a liquid preparation inserted into the rectum.

The nurse must explain the procedure to the patient and should assist the individual before, during and after the procedure.

The nurse should document all care given.

Reflective activity

Clinical skills articles can help update your practice and ensure it remains evidence based. Apply this article to your practice. Reflect on and write a short account of:

How you felt performing this intimate procedure.

The positive elements of care delivery and those that could be enhanced.

Subscribers can upload their reflective accounts at:

Nursing Standard. 30, 14, 34-36. doi: 10.7748/ns.30.14.34.s43


Peer review

All submissions are subject to external double-blind peer-review and checked for plagiarism using automated software.

Received: 29 June 2015

Accepted: 17 September 2015