Why do some nurses guess on BP? - page 3

by Dixon, future NP

8,865 Views | 26 Comments

Hello Everyone! Why do some nurses guess when it comes to taking a blood pressure? I am a patient, I am a CNA and CNA instructor. When I go to the doctor I do not share this information but it really bothers me when I see... Read More


  1. 0
    Many times the patients at the clinic where I work want their home bp cuff checked so they bring it in for us to check. I always take a manual bp and write it down and then I put the patient's auto cuff on and get the reading. The numbers usually match unless, like some have said, it is a pt. with a-fib or irregular pulse for some other reason.
  2. 0
    Quote from Dixon, future NP
    Hello Everyone!

    Why do some nurses guess when it comes to taking a blood pressure?

    I am a patient, I am a CNA and CNA instructor. When I go to the doctor I do not share this information but it really bothers me when I see nurses make mistakes at the patients expense.

    Yesterday I went to the doctor for a physical. I had my blood pressure checked by an LVN, a nurse, I was shocked that he guessed on my blood pressure. It took him about 30 seconds from placing the cuff to reading my BP. He didn't bother checking for brachial artery, stethoscope placement was wrong, blood pressure cuff placement was wrong and in my opinion BP was just a guess based on looking at sphygmomanometer. We all know that you cannot get an accurate blood pressure reading this way.

    I tried to be very nice about it by saying my blood pressure is never that high, can you please re take it? He did but he did it the same way as the first time.

    Please explain if you know, is reading a blood pressure that hard?
    I've seen people take BP crazy different ways. I think they dont want to take the whole minute to do something. I have been to LTC facilities where CNA's didnt even know how to take BP.

    SORRY BUT ITS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE YA'LL.
  3. 0
    I hear what you are saying. As a nurse, I do admit to taking short cuts. But it's not hard to take a bp once you have done it a few times. Even though that nurse took that bp in 30sec or less doesn't mean it's not accurate. As far as checking for placement ; once you know the anatomy of the body and where things are located there is no need to palpate the brachial artery everytime for a bp. But yeah, the bp is suppose to be checked until the cuff completely deflates. As CNAs do you know the rationale for listening to the bp until the bp cuff completely deflates and understand the concept of bp?
    there are certain things to know about the bp besides placement and how long it take to get a bp. Even if a person has been taking a bp for 20 yrs good placement and all. One must understand how the heart works and the rationale. Not knocking the cna role. I worked as a cna for years before I became a nurse and even though I knew how to take a bp I didn't understand the bp, heart or the rationale
    Behind it.
  4. 0
    Quote from nurse doll face
    I hear what you are saying. As a nurse, I do admit to taking short cuts. But it's not hard to take a bp once you have done it a few times. Even though that nurse took that bp in 30sec or less doesn't mean it's not accurate. As far as checking for placement ; once you know the anatomy of the body and where things are located there is no need to palpate the brachial artery everytime for a bp. But yeah, the bp is suppose to be checked until the cuff completely deflates. As CNAs do you know the rationale for listening to the bp until the bp cuff completely deflates and understand the concept of bp?
    there are certain things to know about the bp besides placement and how long it take to get a bp. Even if a person has been taking a bp for 20 yrs good placement and all. One must understand how the heart works and the rationale. Not knocking the cna role. I worked as a cna for years before I became a nurse and even though I knew how to take a bp I didn't understand the bp, heart or the rationale
    Behind it.


    Honestly, I didn't learn the rationale behind the BP when I did my CNA training, I learned it on the job. This is not something that they teach CNA's.

    Now that I am an instructor I teach all my students because I don't believe in performing skills unless I understand why I am performing them. I believe blood pressure is 1 of our baseline skills and also very important. But the drawback is that a lot of CNA's don't understand the anatomy of the body so it is more difficult to teach.
  5. 0
    If the cuff is placed to where the bladder will occlude the brachial artery sufficiently, the cuff size is appropriate, the sphyg is on zero before you pump, and you make sure to go 20mm above the last sound, don't overly rush (or go too slow either), and are able to recognize sounds and record them, I feel pretty confident. Some folks brachial pulse is very hard to deterrmine without a stethescope. I don't like to use digitals unless I make sure to check every so often with a manual and they are fairly compatible. I can do a BP in under 30 seconds. If you are taking along time to do the actual check, IMHO, I wonder if that affects the true BP. My 2 cents. Oh, and I always make sure they have their arm relaxed as that will make the BP falsely higher.
  6. 1
    Totally agree! You HAVE to look at the gauge to get your reading. I, too, hate the auto cuffs. Technology is great, but I just never like them. When I teach clinicals at the hospital I always have my students use manual cuffs
    DSkelton711 likes this.
  7. 0
    I am so glad that my work uses manual bp cuffs. As a new CNA, I learned how to get an accurate reading pretty fast this way. But it does make you wonder, if automatic bp cuffs aren't better than the manual ones, how come every hospital uses them? Oh, and I've found, because of having to use our crappy stethoscopes at work, that a good one makes all the difference in the world!!


Top