I feel so stupid! I have always struggled with taking manual blood pressures. Even now, going into my final year of school, I still have a hard time with this. I get so nervous that I completely miss all of the sounds I'm supposed to hear, or release the bulb too quickly. I've done IV's successfully, catheters, etc., but can't do this basic thing we're all supposed to know after first semester. Anybody have any words of advice?
Jun 3, '02
Nrswannab, I remember thinking I wouldn't pass my first semester because of problems taking blood pressures. We were supposed to practice on our classmates, and my closest friend was fairly heavy and I always had troble hearing her blood pressure through the extra adipose tissue. Also, with the dual sided earpieces our instructors used to listen through and tested us with tended to dull the korotkoff sounds for me, and I remember almost crying at the end of one of our nursing labs because I just could not HEAR them.
I ended up going to a medical equipment supply store and bought myself a blood presssure cuff/sphygmomanometer. I then took blood pressures of family members and friends until I felt comfortable with it. Also, a good cardiac-type stethoscope with the soft rubber earpieces help to block outside noise and enable you to hear the korotkoff sounds more easily. Good luck to you!
Jun 3, '02
Everyone (other than nurses) think that learning to do an accurate BP is "easy." Well, it isn't! I "found" my trick by practicing finding the pulse in the ACF of anyone who would let me! That is the hardest part, once you have that, you have a great pulse to hear thru your stethescope. If you can't get a portable BP to take home, then gather up some classmates and get into lab early and practice. But remember,don't do the same arm repeatedly, the veins will collapse and you won't hear squat!
Best of luck, with time, and practice you'll nail it!!