Help!! I'm having trouble hearing BPs!!!

  1. I heard them fine in lab, but suddenly I'm having trouble hearing them at clinicals, even at home...... any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
    Jenna
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   UM Review RN
    What kind of stethoscope are you using? How many times did this happen? Was the pulse of the patient very slow or very irregular?

    There are lots of reasons you could've had a hard time hearing it. No cause for alarm just yet, ok?
  4. by   LauraLou
    Do you have a good stethoscope? I can't hear anything with the cheap Sprague ones.
  5. by   alintanurse
    Quote from baby_nurse_jenna
    I heard them fine in lab, but suddenly I'm having trouble hearing them at clinicals, even at home...... any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
    Jenna
    I agree with the other posts----you need a quality stethoscope and .....are your ears clean? :chuckle
  6. by   baby_nurse_jenna
    I have a Littmann stethescope...
  7. by   Jabramac
    Practice practice practice. Even with lots of practice, sometimes some people just have very hard BP's to hear. As stated above, what was the situation you were trying to hear BP's- Obese pts, weak thready pulse, could the BP have been very low? In nursing school I checked a BP and thought I heard it at 70. Just one beat. The staff nurse checked and infact her pulse pressure was non existant. What about the other sounds in the room. Was it quiet?
  8. by   lisamc1RN
    Are you being distracted by the outside noises. You may want to close your eyes and really focus on the bp. Shut your mind off to all outside distractions.
  9. by   UM Review RN
    OK. Here are some tips.

    Turn down the TV and close the door. (After informing the patient of your intentions.)

    Palpate the radial pulse to get an idea of how fast and how strong the heart is beating.

    Make sure the chestpiece is facing the correct way.

    Have the patient turn the hand palm up.

    Make sure the arrow on the BP cuff matches to the site of the artery.

    Deflate slowly till you get a first beat, then deflate slowly again toward the end.

    Don't deflate the cuff very fast if you have someone with a very slow or very irregular pulse, else you might miss the most important beats.
  10. by   CHATSDALE
    are you having trouble hearing low voices or other tones...you may want to have your hearing checked..
    palpitate. if you must
    get a electronic b/p kit
  11. by   alintanurse
    Consumer Reports magazine rated the Omron digital BP machine as the best,and most accurate. Wrist models did not rate well.
  12. by   UM Review RN
    Gotta warn you, though. Electronic models don't work on people with very irregular or very slow pulses. And if there was a very high or low BP recorded from the electronic, the first thing you'd need to do is--you guessed it--confirm it via a manual cuff.

    So I don't recommend spending the money.

    How do I know? I spent the money. :imbar
  13. by   alintanurse
    Personally,I don't use a digital machine but I know alot of nurses and facilities that rely on them. I would always have a stethoscope and BP cuff on hand anyway.

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