How to administer suppositories
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How to administer suppositories

Ian Peate Professor of nursing, Gibraltar Health Authority, Gibraltar

Rationale and key points

This article aims to help nurses to undertake the administration of suppositories in a safe, effective and patient-centred manner, ensuring privacy and dignity. Inserting rectal suppositories, whether to administer medication or to achieve bowel evacuation, is a common practice in health care.

The administration of suppositories should be undertaken by competent healthcare practitioners.

Suppositories can be used to achieve a local or systemic effect.

Some suppositories are used to deliver medicines.

The nurse should explain the procedure to the patient.

The nurse should document all care given.

The nurse should assist the patient before, during and following the procedure.

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.

How the person receiving the care you delivered might have felt.

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

Subscribers can upload their reflective accounts at: .

Nursing Standard. 30, 1,34-36. doi: 10.7748/ns.30.1.34.e9483


Peer review

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

Received: 11 August 2014

Accepted: 12 September 2014