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.