Did you learn how to do a manual BP in your CNA class?

Students CNA/MA


I had my first CNA class yesterday and the instructor said that the facility that we will be doing our clinicals at uses the machines where you just push the button. She said because of this we won't be learning how to take manual BP's. Did anyone elses class do this? I am worried that I will get a job somewhere that only does manual BP's and I won't know how to do them.


447 Posts

Specializes in Alzheimers and geriatric patients.

we did learn manual bp. I think all CNAs should have to learn manual bp. in my class you were actually taught to read a manual bp without a stethoscope. I would talk to the proffessor and tell her you are interested in how to take a manual bp. especially since you have to do bp on your state exam-manually!

jjjoy, LPN

2,801 Posts

I agree that even if you won't be having to take manual BPs at your clinical site that you should still be taught how to take a manual BP at some point in your training. If it looks like it's been pulled from the curriculum, I'd suggest first requesting that it be put back in or at the very least offered to students who'd like to learn and practice it. If that doesn't work, then ask for personal instruction from someone who knows how. You can double check what you learn with other experienced clinical staff and by checking other resources (eg a how-to instruction guide).


1,060 Posts

Specializes in Telemetry, ICU, Resource Pool, Dialysis.

That's ridiculous. There will always be times when you may need to get a manual. When I took my state certification (in AZ) many years ago, manual BPs were one of the skills you were expected to know.

fuzzywuzzy, CNA

1,816 Posts

Specializes in LTC.

We learned how to do it in class even though the CNAs didn't even take vitals at our clinical site. I wasn't very confident at all though, so I was glad when I didn't get that for a skill on the test.

The place where I work uses a machine, but if someone is on isolation we have to use manual cuffs. I was thinking, "Oh crap" the first time I had to do vitals, but I actually had no problem. I think the school's crappy equipment was the reason I couldn't get a BP in class.

Now I actually prefer manual to the machine.

Specializes in 6 yrs LTC, 1 yr MedSurg, Wound Care.

We learned to take manual BPs in my class as well. Here in Oklahoma, it is one of the 5 mandatory skills that everyone has to do.

The nursing home that we did clinicals at only took vitals one day a week or something. We weren't there on that day. The hospital had the automatic one that takes temp, pulse ox, and BP all at once.

It is very easy once you figure it out. If you can, see if your instructor will show you how even if its just for your own benefit.



42 Posts

Specializes in Rehab, Orthopedic, Urogyn, Gyn.

I agree with everyone else that said to ask your instructor. Here in NJ, BP is not a tested skill, so we were not going to learn it. But we asked our instructor today if she could show us and she agreed. We are going to learn it next class now. If your instructor really cares about producing knowledgeable CNAs with a full skill set, I am sure they would be willing to help!

allnurses Guide

Spidey's mom, ADN, BSN, RN

11,304 Posts

Ok - that is just crazy.

Never trust the machines - look at the patient and sometimes a manual BP is in order. Plus, sometimes machines break! And you have a patient crashing and need a BP now. What in the world are you going to do now?

How lazy (of your instructors) is that??? You need to ask to be taught. And tell them I said so.



83 Posts

Specializes in Student VN | Critical Care.

Everyone should be taught how to take manual vital signs. Just like everyone should have their BLS.

Buy your own BP cuffs + stethoscope and practice yourself if you have to.


38,333 Posts

Manual BP is an important CNA task. Your instructor should teach this skill. I would seriously ask her to take the time to cover this in class. Buy your own cuff and steth, you can find cheap ones. If you have to, bring them to your clinical site and get one of the nurses to take ten minutes to teach you there. Then you can practice at home.

Specializes in 6 yrs LTC, 1 yr MedSurg, Wound Care.

I just remembered that I found a BP and steth set at the Wal-Mart pharmacy the other day for $15.


Specializes in Med-Surg/urology.

I dont wanna sound mean but good gracious what the heck is wrong with your instructor? Not teaching you how to take manual BP?:angryfire If she refuses to teach you, my book came with a great DVD that shows how to do a lot of the practical skills including the one-step & two-step method of taking BP. It's called Mosby's Nurse Assisting Skills DVD.

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