Vital Signs Test

  1. So tomorrow we check off on our vital signs. My partner and I are both confident in every area besides blood pressure. We are required to do a two step BP and can be within 2 numbers off of what our instructor gets. Any pointers on how to be more accurate or to be less stressed!!?

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    About aaakers27

    Joined: Sep '13; Posts: 12; Likes: 4


  3. by   RNstudent13renee
    If you don't already have one run to walmart or a pharmacy and get a manual BP cuff and practice on a live human being, your parents your brother your signif other, whatever. If your checkoffs are on dummies then hopefully you practiced on them too. Practice helps a lot with BPs. My checkoffs were the same way, you had to do a two step and you couldn't be off more than a few, a can't remember exactly what. Make sure you relax when you go in to get checked off because if your nervous when doing the BP you will easily mess up (I know, easier said than done). What helped me most was to go very slow when letting the air out so that I could get a correct reading on my checkoffs, on a dummy anyway. On real people you don't want to go too slow because it might raise the reading. Practice will help a lot.
  4. by   aaakers27
    I have been practicing a little bit on my boyfriend and my partner. I just have a hard time hearing the pulse before and while pumping the cuff up. Is that a problem I should worry about? I have absolutely no problems hearing it when deflating
  5. by   RNstudent13renee
    No, I never hear the pulse before pumping or during. On some people you can listen all day and never hear the pulse, but when you take the BP you always hear the Korotkoff sounds. As long as you can hear the Korotkoff sounds, the light tapping sounds, when they begin and end you are good.
  6. by   Annaiya
    Try doing a search there was a really good thread a while ago on taking blood pressures. I actually find it easier to find the pulse with the bell of the stethoscope, but if you do it that way remember not to press too hard or you turn it into a diaphragm. It might also help to look back at your anatomy book so you know exactly where the artery is.
  7. by   nurseprnRN
    You won't hear the pulse before or during pumping, so don't expect to. (During inflation, the cuff is making too much noise to hear much of any use)

    The reason you hear pulsations when the cuff is pumped up above diastolic (but below systolic) is because the blood is banging up against the (closed) artery walls; this is why the sound appears when the cuff drops to systolic pressure (allows blood to pass), and disappears when the cuff pressure drops below diastolic (no more banging).

    As to what to do to avoid being nervous: Breathe. Your instructor has seen this act before. S/he knows that you need practice and will see that you get it. S/he should notice whether you have the tips of the earpieces pointed forward toward the tip of your nose so you will hear and show you how to do that if you haven't learned that yourself yet. S/he is there to help you learn, and if you can't get it right away, you'll have more chances. You'll get there.
  8. by   i♥words
    I had my check off a couple of weeks ago. I was nervous, but it turned out to be fairly simple. Just continue to practice taking blood pressures exactly as your instructor told you. It's easy to start looking around and start trying new things, but I found that sticking to exactly what the instructor said (while I'm learning, anyways) helped me the most. Remember: accuracy over speed.
  9. by   zoe92
    Hmm are we in the same program? We have our vital signs test next week but must do the 2 step & be within 2 as well. I am so nervous but am spending this weekend practicing on my family members, as well as all the people who live on my floor (I live in a dorm). Remember to take your time and your teacher will see you are trying. Good luck!!! You can do it.
  10. by   sbaker935
    we just had our skills test for vital signs today! except for BP we had to have had our value +4/-4 on whatever value they had. and pulse within 4 also. just go really slow and take your time!! practice alot on everyone...idk how you can practice on dummies. we had to do each other and on a real person in skills, not a dummy. if your instructors have a dual stethoscope, work with that and make sure you get near the same reading they do. it really helps!! good luck!!
  11. by   RNstudent13renee
    We have Simulator dummies, they are able to have their BP set to whatever the instructors wish, and you can hear the Korotkoff sounds, pulse, etc on them. They are actually really helpful for learning. They of course aren't real people but they definitely help you learn the basics.
  12. by   sbaker935
    oh thats cool! we have those too but they are only for sim lab, or to practice on just an arm. do you do your skills test on the dummies or on each other? we did each other today. and i passed woot woot
  13. by   RNstudent13renee
    We did our checkoffs on Sims. But we had to take our BPs manually at clinicals for first semester so we got a lot of practice there. Congrats! I got super stressed out when I had to do mine, instructors watching me just made me nervous. I have learned to ignore it now haha.
  14. by   sbaker935
    thanks! yeah it's very nervewracking!! haha