The nurse should observe the following points when giving a drug by the SC route:
• A volume of 0.5 to 1 mL is used for SC injection. Larger volumes (eg, > 1 mL) are best given as IM
injections. If a volume larger than 1 mL is ordered through the SC route, the injection is given in two sites, with separate needles and syringes.
The sites for SC injection are the upper arms, the upper abdomen, and the upper back (Fig. 2-6). Rotate injection sites to ensure proper absorption and to minimize tissue damage. When giving a drug by the SC route, insert the needle at a 45-degree angle. However, to place the drug in the SC tissue, select the needle length and angle of insertion based on the patient's body weight. Obese patients have excess SC tissue, and it may be necessary to give the injection at a 90-degree angle. If the patient is thin or cachectic, there usually is less SC tissue. For such patients, the upper abdomen is the best site for injection. Generally, a syringe with a 23- to 25-gauge needle that is V2 to 5/8 inches in length is most suitable for an SC injection.
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