Collecting a Nasopharyngeal Swab
Posted by dkwinter
  1. Use a NON-EXPIRED swab supplied with the universal transport media.

  2. Explain the procedure to patient.

  3. When collecting the specimens, wear eye protection, gloves, and a mask. Change gloves and wash your hands between each patient.

  4. If the patient has a lot of mucus in the nose, this can interfere with the collection of cells. Either ask the patient to use a tissue to gently clean out visible nasal mucus or clean the nostril yourself with a cotton swab (e.g. Q-Tip).

  5. How to estimate the distance to the nasopharynx: Prior to insertion, measure the distance from the corner of the nose to the front of the ear and insert the shaft approximately 2/3 of this length.
  6. Seat the patient comfortably. Tilt the patient's head back slightly to straighten the passage from the front of the nose to the nasopharynx to moke insertion of the swab easier.
  7. Insert the swab along the medial part of the septum, along the floor of the nose, until it reaches the posterior nares; gentle rotation of the swob may be helpful. (If resistance is encountered, try the other nostril: the patient may have a deviated septum.)
  8. Allow the swab to sit in place for 5-10 seconds.
  9. Rotate the swab several times to dislodge the columnar epithelial cells. Note: Insertion of the swab usually induces a cough.
  10. Withdraw the swab and place it in the collection tube. Replace cap securely.
  11. Refrigerate immediately.
  12. Remove gloves.
  13. Wash hands.
  14. Attach completed requisition.
  15. Transport to the laboratory.