Objective: Understand how to measure and interpret pulse and respiratory rates.

Part 1: Understanding Vital Signs

  • Pulse Rate:
    • Definition: Number of heartbeats per minute.
    • Normal Range: An adult’s normal pulse rate lies between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
    • Importance: Abnormal rates could signal health issues and should be reported immediately to a nurse.
  • Respiration Rate:
    • Definition: Number of breaths a patient takes per minute.
    • Normal Range: A healthy adult’s respiration rate falls between 12 to 20 breaths per minute.
    • Importance: The respiration rate is taken immediately after the pulse while the patient is relaxed and unaware, ensuring an accurate measurement.

Part 2: Required Supplies

  • A watch with a second hand

Part 3: Procedure to Measure Pulse Rate

  • Politely knock on the patient’s door and then enter.
  • Greet the patient by their name, introduce yourself and explain the purpose of your visit.
  • Ensure privacy by shutting the curtains.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Confirm the patient’s identity by checking their ID.
  • Ensure the patient’s comfort by having them lie down and support their forearm with one hand.
  • Locate the radial pulse (on the thumb side of the wrist) with your fingers.
  • Count the patient’s heartbeat for one minute once the pulse is located.
  • Record the pulse rate on the patient’s chart.

Part 4: Procedure to Measure Respiratory Rate

  • Inform the patient you are going to take their pulse again, but instead record their respiration count. This helps keep their breathing normal.
  • Hold their wrist and observe their chest movements.
  • Count their respiration from the rise and fall of the chest, counting the first chest fall as breath one.
  • Count the respirations for one minute.
  • Record the respiration rate on the patient’s chart.
  • Wash your hands again after the procedure.
  • Hand over the call light to the patient and close the curtains.
  • Ask the patient about their preferred position of the bed’s head and adjust accordingly.