It is common for patients in the intensive care unit to have some type of gastric tube placed for a variety of purposes (eg, drainage, medication administration, feeding). Although nurses place both large- and small-bore gastric tubes, there is constant discussion regarding the best method for validating proper placement at the time the tube is placed and during routine care thereafter. Radiologic confirmation of correct placement is considered the “gold standard.”
Evaluate unit and hospital policies and procedures for consistency with current best evidence.
Assess the current standard practice by all nurses in your unit for determining correct gastric tube placement.
Standardize the method for ensuring correct initial placement beforehand. Evaluation must be made prior to medication administration or initiation of tube feedings.
Incorporate marking of the gastric tube once radiographic validation of placement has been determined.