Medical Assistant Students Learn about Lavage and Injections

Lavage. What is that? It may sound like a fancy French word, but don’t be fooled. Lavage is simply a medical term that means to wash a hollow organ with repeated injections of water, which is exactly what Globe University-La Crosse medical assistant program students practiced in a CMA review course.

“An ear lavage is another name for ear irrigation or ear wash,” Stacy Tibbitts, a medical assistant student, said. “This can help the patient by removing impacted cerumen, (ear wax) relieve inflammation and remove foreign bodies from the ear canal.”

Fellow student, Mindy Revels explained the process of ear lavage. “Ear lavage is using room temperature water to gently flush ear wax or debris from the ear canal. It should be done when wax is built up and obstructing hearing.”

Student Stacy Tibbitts practices ear lavage

In addition to flushing the ears, Ann Schmit also noted that lavage “provides relief from earaches, ringing in the ears, or temporary hearing loss.”

Students also practiced skills needed when giving injections, such as informed consent and giving a patient a vaccination information sheet. They also demonstrated the seven rights of medication administration: the right patient, drug, dose, technique, time, route and documentation.

The students performed different types of injections. Stacy Tibbitts described the types, saying, “An intradermal injection would be a tuberculosis test done on the inner surface of the lower arm. A subcutaneous injection is used when a patient gives themselves insulin; they can do this in the fatty tissue on the outer upper arm.”

A final type of injection the students practiced was intramuscular injections. An example of an intramuscular injection is the flu shot.

“Intramuscular injections are used for viscous medication and can be given in the deltoid muscle,” Stacy said.

“We used 1 ml of solution, injected a ninety degree angle,” Samantha Jones, medical assistant student, said.

Samantha noted the importance of becoming familiar with the proper techniques. “While completing these skills, we practice them just as they would be done during an externship and out in the field,” she said. “Practicing skills like this will really prepare me for an externship.”

Stacy agreed, saying, “As a medical assistant I will have to give a lot of injections to patients of all ages. By practicing these skills, it will help my confidence when I start my externship and future job.”