Portable bladder ultrasound scanning

Are nurses permitted to perform portable bladder ultrasound scanning as part of an assessment?

Portable bladder ultrasound scanning falls within the scope of nursing practice when it is used as part of a nursing assessment to determine the need for urinary catheterization. When used for assessment (e.g., urine volume, retention, etc.), bladder ultrasound is not diagnostic and therefore is not a controlled act.

Before performing this procedure, you must determine that you are competent to do so and can interpret the findings. You will also need the knowledge, skill and judgment to determine that the procedure is appropriate, manage the client during the procedure, and provide follow-up care.

The authority to perform urinary catheterization can be obtained through a medical directive, a client-specific order or through initiation.

Page last reviewed July 25, 2012