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Collecting Stool Specimens. Heather Nelson, RN. Collecting Stool Specimens.

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collecting stool specimens

Collecting Stool Specimens

Heather Nelson, RN

collecting stool specimens2
Collecting Stool Specimens
  • The nurse needs to determine the reason for collecting the stool specimen and the correct method of obtaining and handling it (i.e., how much stool to obtain, whether a preservative needs to be added to the stool, and whether it needs to be sent immediately to the laboratory).
  • Confirm handing of stool with the hospital laboratory if necessary.
nurses need to instruct patients
Nurses Need to Instruct Patients:
  • To defecate in a clean or sterile bedpan or bedside commode.
  • Do not contaminate the specimen with urine or menstrual discharge if possible. Void before the specimen collection.
  • Do not place toilet tissue in the bedpan or hat after defecation, since contents of the paper can affect the laboratory analysis.
  • Notify the nurse as soon as possible after defecation, particularly for specimens that need to be sent to the laboratory immediately.
obtaining sample from a baby
Obtaining sample from a baby
  • Obtain newly passed feces from the diaper.
obtaining stool samples
Obtaining Stool Samples
  • The nurse should follow medical aseptic technique.
  • Wear gloves to prevent hand contamination.
  • Take care not to contaminate the outside of the specimen container.
  • Use clean tongue blades to transfer the specimen to the container.
obtaining stool samples6
Obtaining Stool Samples
  • The amount of stool to be sent to the lab depends on the purpose for which the specimen is collected.
  • Usually about 2.5 cm (1 inch) of formed stool or 15 to 30 ml of liquid stool is adequate.
  • For some timed specimens, the entire stool passed may need to be sent.
  • Confirm with the lab the size of the sample required.
obtaining stool samples7
Obtaining Stool Samples
  • Visible pus, mucus, or blood should be included in sample specimens.
  • For a stool culture, dip a sterile swab into the specimen and place the swab in a sterile test tube.
obtaining stool samples8
Obtaining Stool Samples
  • Send the specimen to the lab immediately.
  • If this is not possible, follow the directions on the specimen container.