Nasopharyngeal Swab (OSCE)


  1. Wash hands  
  2. Greet patient and introduce yourself 
  3. Briefly explain the procedure in a patient friendly manner 
  4. Get patient consent  
  5. Check the patient is not in any pain 
  6. Ask the patient to sit 


  1. PPE (gloves etc.)  
  2. Nasopharyngeal swab (plastic shaft with synthetic tips) 
  3. Specimen tube with universal transport medium 



  1. Ask patient to blow nose 👃
  2. Assess nasal passage to ensure there are no obstructions 📏
  3. Measure the distance between the corner of the nose and front of ear (average 4 cm) 📏
  4. Insert nasopharyngeal shaft half the length of the distance 📏
  5. Straighten passage between nose and nasopharynx by tilting the head back 70° 📐
  6. Insert the nasopharyngeal swab through the base of the nose, without toughing the external skin 
  7. When the swab is inserted completely, allow it to absorb the secretions for a few seconds 
  8. Rotate the swab to slowly remove it from the nose 👃 
  9. Put the swab into the tube once removed, fully submerging it in the liquid 
  10. Break the shaft off  
  11. Label the tube with patient and procedure details  
  12. Package the tube for transportation to the lab 
  13. Arrange for the tube to be transported to the lab in a suitable time frame 



  1. Tell the patient the examination is now complete  
  2. Thank patient 
  3. Give paper towels to the patient if required 
  4. Appropriately dispose of equipment and PPE 
  5. Wash hands  
  6. Record procedure details in patient’s notes  


  1. Greet patient and describe the procedure
  2. Assess the nasal passage to ensure there are no obstructions
  3. Insert nasopharyngeal swab into nose
  4. Rotate swab to remove it slowly
  5. Submerge swab in liquid transport medium
  6. Send labelled tube containing the swab to the lab
  7. Thank patient and record details in their notes

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