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Katie Howard
reusing saline flush syringes

I was sitting in a committee meeting with infusion managers and infection control nurses the other day. The topic was saline flushes. As a corporation, we have recently moved to the BD syringe with 10ml of NS. I have noticed many of the nurses coming from other facilities will flush with 5ml and recap, give their IV medication and flush with the other 5ml of NS. I have always taught patients and staff that syringes are a one-time use. I cited the INS standard 50.4 "single-use flushing systems shall be used". Most of the nurses did not agree stating they saw no problem with drawing up multiple doses of medication into one syringe and administering in increments. I am very curious to know what this group thinks about the practice and if you have any literature to back it up. It seems like CDC has said something about this, but the other nurses all are telling me it is a safe an acceptable practice. Thank you in advance for your responses.

Katie Howard RN CRNI 




Dangerous practice
Indeed you are correct - this is a dangerous practice. These syringes are single use only and all manufacturers have warnings about using prefilled syringes to add medications. In fact, a recent ISMP newsletter has an article about this practice. When medications are added to a prefilled sryinge, the label still states it is filled with normal saline. When this syringe is out of the nurses control, even for a few seconds, it could be used by someone else who was unaware that medication had been added. Find the ISMP Medication Safety Alert Newsletter, Acute Care edition for November 16, 2006. Stick to your guns, this practice should be stopped! Lynn

Lynn Hadaway, M.Ed., RN, BC, CRNI

Lynn Hadaway Associates, Inc.

126 Main Street, PO Box 10

Milner, GA 30257


Office Phone 770-358-7861

Peter Marino


[quote=lynncrni]Find the ISMP Medication Safety Alert Newsletter, Acute Care edition for November 16, 2006.[/quote]

Peter Marino R.N. BSN CRNI VA-BC Hospital based staff R.N. with no affiliation to any product or health care company.

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