Checking vitals on a stranger to see if they are ok - page 2

by brian Admin

10,693 Views | 12 Comments

Have you ever checked vital signs of a stranger (with their permission) while away from work? For example, you are walking down the street and you see someone that looks sick - do you check for vitals? Or, do you keep going? ... Read More


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    I had a week of jury duty once, and must have had to state my profession about 20 times during the different voir dires. So plenty of people knew I was a nurse. One morning in the jury room, someone ran in and grabbed me, saying I had to come downstairs right then. I found a woman on the floor, out cold. I made sure the heroes were on the way, and kept asking if anyone knew anything about her. Finally a little boy said that she was his mama, and she had "the sugar." I had no glucometer, so I basically held her head in my lap until EMS got there. Her fingerstick bs was over 300 when they first checked it.

    One day driving home from work I saw an elderly man lying on the grass beside the road, with a man I thought was a firefighter beside him, but no ambulance or fire truck. I pulled over and the guy in uniform practical gibbered he was so nervous. I thought this was very weird, he's the firefighter, but no, he was actually a city inspector! He had called 911, so I just did a basic neuro check and took the guy's pulse. He was confused, diaphoretic, and had a pulse of 180. Turns out, he'd gotten tired of waiting on his wife in the doctor's office, and had decided to walk in 100+ temperatures. He'd made it several miles before he collapsed. I kept the elderly man calm and on the ground (he kept saying he was going to walk home) until the ambulance got there, but that was the extent of what I could do.
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    If they appeared to be in distress, or even just ill or pale, I'd ask if they felt okay. Don't get me wrong, I don't go around with my cape on looking for phone booth to change into and become SUPERNURSE, but I keep an eye out. If someone is not feeling well they'll let you know if they want or need help, and it's up to you both how you proceed.
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    The main reason for taking vitals is to document them. I don't need to check a BP, pulse, or SPO2 to know if it's too high or too low. I, and the vast majoriety of exerienced RNs, can tell with a glance. One other reason to check vitals, when you know they are bad but need hard numbers to convince the physician who isn't at the bedside to do something about the problem.


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