Blood Glucose Measurement – OSCE Guide

Blood glucose measurement occasionally shows up as an OSCE station. It’s important that you’re familiar with this relatively simple procedure. There’s often a significant number of marks available for communication skills when explaining the procedure to the patient, so don’t overlook the importance of this aspect of the station.

Check out the blood glucose measurement mark scheme here.


Wash hands

Introduce yourself – state your name and role

Confirm patient details – name / DOB


Explain procedure:

“I would like to check your blood glucose level.”

“The procedure will involve taking a very small blood sample from your fingertip.”

“You’ll experience a very brief sharp scratch.”


Gain consent – “Do you understand everything I’ve said?  Are you happy for me to go ahead?”

Gather equipment

  • Gloves
  • Blood glucose reader
  • Spring loaded lancet (a.k.a. “the finger pricker”)
  • Testing strips – check expiry date is valid
  • Gauze
  • Gather blood glucose equipment
    Gather equipment

Measure the blood glucose

1. Ensure the patient has washed their hands –  substances on the skin can alter the reading – avoid alcohol wipes as they can also interfere with the reading

2. Turn on the blood glucose monitor – ensure it is calibrated

3. Insert the test strip into the glucose monitor – ensure the strip is within date

4. Don gloves

5. Remove the protective cap from the lancet 

6. Prick the patient’s finger – ideally the side of the finger (as this is usually less painful)

7. Gently squeeze the finger to produce a blood droplet

8. Touch the tip of the test strip against the droplet of blood

9. Apply gauze to the puncture site to stop the bleeding

10. Note the reading from the blood glucose meter 

  • Capillary blood glucose
    Insert test strip

To complete the procedure…

Dispose of lancet into sharps bin

Dispose of gloves and cotton wool into an appropriate clinical waste bin

Wash hands

Thank patient 

Document the blood glucose reading on the appropriate chart


Michelle Spence

Senior nurse practitioner

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