Understanding Proper Insulin Injection Technique

Robert Roscoe, BSc. Pharm, ACRP, CDE, CPT, Pharmacist and Certified Diabetes Educator goes through the steps of proper injection technique when administering insulin.

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Robert Roscoe, BSc. Pharm, ACRP, CDE, CPT, Pharmacist and Certified Diabetes Educator goes through the steps of proper injection technique when administering insulin.
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Video transcript

Featuring Robert Roscoe, BSc. Pharm, ACRP, CDE, CPT, Pharmacist and Certified Diabetes Educator

Duration: 2 minutes, 41 seconds

Well the first thing you really should do is just gather all your supplies and bring them to one area. Once you have that done then really what you should be doing is washing your hands to make sure you’re getting ready to do the injection.

The third thing you should do is kind of look at your site, to inspect it to make sure it’s nice and clean. Usually your day-to-day hygiene is enough, you really don’t need alcohol swabs. And then once you have the injection site picked out, then you get prepared to get the injection ready.

In relation to your dose, the first thing you need to do is prepare the pen. You would take your pen and get a new needle tip, you would insert the needle tip onto the pen, being sure that you go at a straight angle an not to bend the inner needle tip of the needle-tipped pen.

The next thing that you would do is you would prime the pen based on the manufacturer’s recommendation. Most manufacturers recommend a two-unit prime, so you would dial two or three units on your pen, hold the pen upright so that you can see the needle tip in front of you, and then press on the plunger until it goes to zero. But keep an eye on the needle tip. If you see a few drops of insulin, then you know that the pen is working well and that you’re ready to do your dose.

In relation to getting ready to do your dose, you would now have the pen primed and now you would finally dial the dose that you need to inject. You would go into your skin at a 90-degree angle and just slide it into the skin if you’re using a short needle.

If you happen to be very thin, or also prefer to use a longer needle, you may have to be instructed on how to do this at an angle, so you may have to check with your healthcare team. Once underneath the skin, you would press on the plunger until it goes to zero. At that point you would wait 10 seconds before removing the needle and come out at the same angle that you went into.

Once you’re finished your injection and you’ve withdrawn the needle, you would take the outer cap which you took off earlier, and place back over the needle, and then unscrew the needle tip to remove it from the pen. At that point, you would put it into a sharps disposal, and bring it to the pharmacy for safe disposal at a later date.

So, when you’re doing your injections it’s important to remember number one to rotate your injection sites. This means you can use different locations or rotate within the areas that you’re injecting. The second important part is to remember to use your insulin pen needle only once, as it reduces the chance of developing complications.

How you inject your insulin is as important as the insulin that you inject. So, it’s important to know the steps that should be properly followed. For more information I would suggest that you can talk to your endocrinologist or your family doctor, but also your diabetes healthcare team, which also includes diabetes nurse educators, certified diabetes educators, pharmacists and dietitians as well for further information.

Presenter: Mr. Robert Roscoe, Pharmacist, Rothesay, NB

Local Practitioners: Pharmacist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.