Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School




Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Susan Fetzer


Capillary blood glucose monitoring is a common nursing procedure. However, no consensus exists regarding which drop of blood to test (drop 1 vs. drop 2) and whether using alcohol pads to prepare the fingertip affects blood glucose values. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of these factors and contribute to the development of evidence-based nursing protocols for capillary blood glucose monitoring. A quantitative, quasi-experimental study was conducted in a laboratory at the University of New Hampshire. 96 volunteers were randomly assigned to one of three groups. Each group underwent a pair of capillary blood glucose tests to determine the impact of alcohol prep pads and blood drop number. Data was analyzed using paired t-tests and ANOVA. Results showed that neither alcohol prep pads alone nor blood drop number alone affect blood glucose results. However, when an alcohol prep pad was used, values from blood drop 1 were a mean of 2.1 mg/dL (Std. Dv. = 5.03) less than blood drop 2 (p = .042). This difference is clinically insignificant and would not likely affect patient care. These findings indicate that it is not necessary to wipe away the first drop of blood, even when 70% isopropyl alcohol is used for skin preparation. Further research needs to be done to confirm these results.