CNA Training – Taking Vital Signs
One of the very first things you’ll learn while doing your CNA Training is how to take vital signs. Vital signs are a very important part of a CNA’s daily routine, as they provide information on how well a persons body is functioning, and how well their major organs are performing. Taking a patients vital signs includes taking their pulse, taking their temperature, checking the patients blood pressure, and monitoring the lungs to ascertain the breathing rate.
Checking a patients vital signs is very important, because it provides valuable information on whether or not a patients body is functioning as it should. The rate of a patients vital signs is compared against a chart containing the standard number for that persons age and sex. Learning how to perform the vital signs test accurately will ensure you have an up to date and current assessment of your patients condition, which can then be related back to the supervising nurse and/or doctor.
Taking a persons pulse gives a superficial idea of how their heart is functioning. If a pulse is too fast or slow, or skips a beat, these are crucial indicators that a patient may have an underlying medical condition that needs to be dealt with. There are a variety of places you can take a patients pulse from, the most common being placing the index and middle finger over the patients artery located on their wrist. There are also arteries available on the neck, arms, chest, abdomen, thighs and back of the knees in which a pulse can be taken. Having multiple areas in which to take a pulse from can be benificial if the patient has impairment or pain in any of their limbs, and ensures you will always have a place in which to gain a superficial idea of how well their heart is performing.
Temperature checks will tell you whether the patient is over or under heated. The baseline for a human temperature is 98 degrees (farenheit). A little over or under this number is normally ok, but any large differences should be noted. When a body overheats, it goes into what is known as a ‘fever’, and can be a warning signal that there is something wrong, from a simple cold to more serious illness’s. Temperatures can be taken in a variety of ways, the most common being orally, anally, under the arm, and in the ear (with the correct equipment).
Blood Pressure tests provide information on how much force the blood is applying to the arteries and blood vessels. Monitoring blood pressure will tell you whether the patients blood pressure is too high or too low, and give an indicator to which treatments are needed to solve the problem.
Last but not least, CNA’s need to check the patients lungs to determine the breathing (respitory) rate, which is vital to determining the health of the lungs. Using a stethoscope, a nursing aide will ask the patient to breath in and out, whilst listening to the depth and number of times a person breathes. Taking a patients respitory rate is an important vital sign to monitor, as it can give indications of improper lung function, illness’s and other conditions the patient may suffer from.