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Skills For Nursing Practice (PUP1184) Intramuscular And Subcutaneous Injections

John Marsh
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Intramuscular and Subcutaneous Injections

Edge Hill University

Skills for Nursing Practice 1 (PUP1184)

Intramuscular and Subcutaneous Injections
– Intramuscular (IM) means within the muscle and refers to injection of a
drug directly into the muscle.
– This route is chosen when the patient is unable to take medicines by
mouth, often prior to and immediately after an operation.
– The effect of medicines given IM will be faster than those given by
subcutaneous (SC) injection but slower than drugs given intravenously
– This procedure describes the two methods most commonly used for IM
injections- the traditional method or an alternative technique called the
Z-track method. This involves pulling the skin sideways or downwards
from the injection site to displace the skin and subcutaneous tissue
from the underlying muscle. Once the medication is given, the tension
on the skin is released to seal off the needle pathway and puncture
site. This prevents the drug from seeping out through the injection site
or into the SC tissues
– The IM route is only suitable for small volumes of drugs, up to 5 mL in
large muscle (vastus lateralis and ventrogluteal) and 2 mL in small
muscle (e.g. deltoid); however, most IM injections will be no more than
2 mL as large volumes can be very painful.
– Examples of medicines given intramuscularly are analgesics, antiemetics,
and immunisations.



Skills For Nursing Practice (PUP1184) Intramuscular And Subcutaneous Injections

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