Current Content
Volume 34, Number 1
January/February 2008

Creation of a Registered
Nurse-Administered Nitrous
Oxide Sedation Program for Radiology and Beyond
Mary Kay Farrell
Gloria J. Drake
Denise Rucker
Marsha Finkelstein
Judith L. Zier

Children undergoing urethral catheterization for urologic imaging under existing sedation practices were identified as an underserved patient population. Using a multidisciplinary approach, a registered nurse (RN)-administered nitrous oxide sedation program was developed to meet the needs of these children. Program development required delineation of RN scope of practice, evaluation of equipment, formulation of an educational program, and compliance with occupational safety standards. The program was implemented in 2004 using standard “dental” nitrous oxide equipment coupled with distraction and imagery to enhance the efficacy of the sedation experience. Initial assessment via telephone questionnaire indicated fewer adverse effects and more rapid return to baseline than oral midazolam, the sedative previously used for these procedures. Ongoing evaluation continues to confirm patient and environmental safety. The nitrous oxide program has expanded to provide sedation for additional tests in radiology as well as in other hospital departments. By implementing an RN-administered nitrous oxide program, children’s access to this sedative/analgesic agent is increased.