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a. Review the patient's clinical record to verify the physician's order.


b. Wash your hands and assemble the necessary equipment.

(1) Prescribed medication.


(2) Cotton balls and gauze squares.


(3) Normal saline solution.


(4) Medicine dropper.

c. Approach and identify the patient.


d. Explain the procedure to the patient. Instruct him that it will be necessary to lie still for 10-15 minutes after the procedure.


e. Place the patient in a supine position with the head turned toward the unaffected side.


f. If necessary, cleanse the external ear with the saline and cotton balls or gauze squares.


g. Remove the cap from the medication container and, if a dropper is to be used, draw up the correct amount of medication. Do not contaminate the container cap.


h. With the non-dominant hand, straighten the external ear canal by gently pulling up and back on the ear for an adult, or down and back for a child.


i. Instill the prescribed amount of medication, one drop at a time.

(1) Direct the flow of the medication toward the roof of the ear canal.


(2) Do not allow the dropper (or the tip of the bottle) to touch the ear.


j. Place a cotton ball loosely into the opening of the ear canal to absorb any excess medication.


k. Instruct the patient to lie still for 10-15 minutes to allow the medication to be absorbed, rather than run out of the ear. (The head should remain turned toward the unaffected side.) After this period, assist the patient to a comfortable position.


l. Remove supplies from the bedside and store or discard as appropriate.


m. Wash your hands.


n. Record the procedure in the patient's clinical record.

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