My patient had a fever. He needed Tylenol.
He was a confused little old man, bedbound. And he couldn’t swallow. He was NPO, meaning no food, no water, nothing by mouth. He would choke. Choking was not good. Even a new nurse like me knew that.
So I needed to give it rectally.
I asked the more experienced nurses: “How do you give Tylenol rectally? Just … ???” Wondering how you put a little pill up there.
“Yes!” they assured me cheerfully. “Just give it rectally.”
I wanted to be clear. “Just put it in? Just … ??”
Their confirmation was unequivocal, unanimous. “Yes! Just stick it up there!”
Sounded easy enough. Unfortunately, the experienced nurses left out one small but vital detail: Tylenol comes as a suppository.
I was a new nurse. It would have been helpful to know that.