Ear Irrigation Practice Exam

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1. A client arrives at the emergency room with a foreign body in the left ear that has been determined to be an insect. Which intervention would the nurse anticipate to be prescribed initially?

  1. Irrigation of the ear
  2. Instillation of diluted alcohol
  3. Instillation of antibiotic ear drops
  4. Instillation of corticosteroids ear drops

2. A nurse would question an order to irrigate the ear canal in which of the following circumstances?

  1. Ear pain
  2. Hearing loss
  3. Otitis externa
  4. Perforated tympanic membrane

3.Which of the following interventions is essential when instilling Cortisporin suspension, 2 gtt right ear?

  1. Verifying the proper client and route
  2. Warming the solution to prevent dizziness
  3. Holding an emesis basin under the client’s ear
  4. Positioning the client in the semi-fowlers position

4.The nurse prepares an adult client for an ear irrigation as ordered by the physician. Which of the following procedure correctly performed by the nurse?

  1. Position the client with the affected side up after the irrigation.
  2. Pull the pinna down and back.
  3. Warm the irrigating solution to 98º Fahrenheit.
  4. Directs a slow steady current of irrigating solution into the eardrum.

Answers and Rationale

  1. B. Insects are killed before removal unless they can be coaxed out by a flashlight or a humming noise. Mineral oil or diluted alcohol is instilled into the ear to suffocate the insect, which then is removed by using forceps. When the foreign object is vegetable matter, irrigation is not used because this material expands with hydration and the impaction becomes worse.
  2. D. Irrigation of the ear canal is contraindicated with perforation of the tympanic membrane because the solution entering the inner ear may cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and infection.
  3. A. When giving medications, a nurse follows the five R’s of medication administration. The drops may be warmed to prevent pain or dizziness, but this action is not essential. An emesis basin would be used for irrigation of the ear. Put the client in the lateral position to prevent the drops from draining out for 5 minutes, not semi-fowlers position.
  4. C. Warm the irrigating solution to 98º Fahrenheit. Warm the irrigating solution to 98ºF because a solution temperature that is not close the client’s body temperature will cause ear injury, vertigo, and nausea.
    • Option A is not correct because the client is to lie on the affected side to complete draining the irrigating solution.
    • Option B is applied only to children 3 years younger.
    • Option D will cause a damage to the eardrum.