One means of gathering information about the patient's health status is by
identifying pathogens and analyzing urine, blood, sputum, and feces. As a practical
nurse, you may be responsible for collecting and labeling specimen for analysis and
ensuring their delivery to the lab. For self-protection and to prevent the spread of
disease, wear gloves whenever you work with body fluids. Washing your hands
carefully also prevents the spread of disease.
Throat cultures are done to isolate and identify any pathogens, which may be
medium. The slide or medium is incubated in the laboratory to determine which
organisms causing a throat disorder. A sample of mucus and secretions from the back
of the throat is collected on a cotton-tipped applicator and applied to a slide or culture
are present. A determination of which drug is most effective against a particular
organism may be done also. A full culture and sensitivity test takes several days
because the organisms must have time to grow. If strep infection is suspected a quick
strep test may be done, so that antibiotic therapy can be started immediately.
SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT
The supplies and equipment required to obtain a sample for throat culture are:
a. Sterile cotton-tipped applicator specimen collection kit (culturette).
b. Tongue depressor.
c. Laboratory request form.
PROCEDURE FOR A THROAT CULTURE
Always wash your hands before the procedure. Explain to the patient what you
are going to do. Have the patient sit comfortably on a bed or chair and tilt his head
a. Use the flashlight to illuminate the back of the throat. Check for inflamed
areas using the tongue depressor.