Intended for healthcare professionals
CPD modules

An evidence-based approach to subcutaneous injection technique

  • Peer reviewed
  • Certificate
  • Learning time: 02 hrs
  • Last updated: 2022
  • Link to RCNi Revalidation Portfolio

This learning module reviews the administration of subcutaneous injections and suggests a framework for best practice in acute and community care settings. The importance of patient assessment and having a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology, as well as an awareness of the risks of injection, are addressed.

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Intended learning outcomes

This learning module for nurses addresses the topic of safe injection practice with particular reference to the subcutaneous technique. It draws on current research and evidence to inform a framework for best practice when injecting insulin and heparin using the subcutaneous route. It also addresses the nursing knowledge and skills required for effective clinical decision making and a safe approach to clinical practice.
Intended learning outcomes

After reading this module and completing the time out activities you should be able to:

  • Identify aspects of injection technique that should form part of a standard assessment before administering any medications.
  • Describe why the subcutaneous route is used for certain medications, including insulin and heparin.
  • Suggest suitable sites for injection of common medications.
  • List the main steps in injection technique that minimise potential adverse effects.
  • Discuss the principles of patient assessment to maximise the success of all subcutaneous injections.

This module is broken down into the following sections:

  • Aims & Intended learning outcomes
  • Introduction
  • Indications for subcutaneous injections
  • Site of injection
  • Equipment
  • Technique
  • Risks of subcutaneous injections
  • Heparin and insulin injections
  • Patient assessment
  • Conclusions


Please note that information provided by RCNi Learning is not sufficient to ensure competence in the skill. Assessment of competence should take place in line with local practice. Practice should always align with local protocols and procedures, latest guidelines and any regulatory code. All modules should currently be viewed together with available national and local Covid-19 guidelines. For advice, go to

Sherri Ogston-Tuck, Independent nurse consultant.

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