What Is Fowler’s Position? (Definition and Explanation)

This position is named after George Ryerson Fowler. He was a surgeon that worked in New York City. Fowler’s Position is the standard patient position.

The patient is placed an upright sitting position. The patient is sitting on the bed between 45 and 60 degrees. The legs are either straight out or knees are slightly bent.

This position allows for improved breathing due to chest expansion and oxygenation. This can also be an intervention that can be implemented during episodes of respiratory distress. This position is also used to implement oral and gastric feeding tubes to the patient.

This also can help with compression of the chest. This often happens when patients are lying down due to gravitational forces. For patients that cannot move well, this position can help with eating and talking at a normal rate. Swallowing is aided by the force of gravity pulling downward.

Semi and High Fowler’s Position

High Fowler’s Position is when the patient is sitting the most upright position possible. They are usually sitting 60 to 90 degrees in relation the lower body. The legs are bent at the knees or straight out.

This position is ideal for excretion. This is also useful to help the patient’s breathing. High Fowler’s position facilitates proper eating and swallowing of food. This position also makes it easier for x-rays to be taken.

Semi-Fowler’s Position is when patient is slaying down the bed in a supine position with his or her upper body 30 to 45 degrees in the air.

This position is also  good for patient who receive food through a tube. Elevating the head 30 degrees keeps the patient from aspirating the feeding tub fluid. This position can also be used during labor for women.

Low Fowler’s Position is when the bed is elevated 15 to 30 degrees. This position is optimal for patient rest.

See also Nursing conversions


Those are the different Fowler positions. They are used to help patient with basic bodily actions. They are also very important to nurses and medical professionals. They can better do their jobs and treat the patients.