Policy Number


IWK - 20.77 - Application of Topical Anesthetics


The IWK Health Centre provides a multitude of services to infants, children, women, and youth, including procedures/treatment but not limited to: venipuncture, immunizations, intravenous (IV) insertion, insertion/accessing of central venous access devices (CVADs), and suturing of lacerations. These interventions are painful and can be stressful for the patient and family. Topical anesthetic can reduce the pain associated with these interventions/treatments. A discussion with the patient and family prior to invasive procedures/treatment, will ensure that the most appropriate treatment be given in each individual situation.

The purpose of this care directive is to provide registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and medical radiation technologists (MRTs) with consistent direction and guidance through the use of a care directive in the use/application of topical anesthetics to women, children, infants, and youth, prior to invasive interventions/treatment. The care within this care directive falls within the scope of practice for RNs, LPNs, and MRTs. MRTs are able to work independently and collaboratively with other health care professionals to obtain the information necessary for diagnosis. It is within their scope of practice and training to administer certain medications with minimal supervision. In addition, MRTs have been trained to respond appropriately to adverse drug reactions.