How do you check a pulse? Nope I'm not a student

Nurses General Nursing


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12:29 am by K+MgSO4

It's like tying your shoelaces.

It doesn't matter how you do it as long as you can feel the pulse.

Last edit by K+MgSO4 on 12:36 am

Best answer for all new nurses, and for the senior nurses, they definitely have found their own ways convenient to them in getting patient pulses. Also applicable in other cases, such as the unconscious patient, probably a lapse of judgement there on getting radial pulse on an unconscious patient or an emergency patient ,where you need to find the strongest possible pulse in the body to determine patients immediate status.


1 Article; 317 Posts

I take their pulse based on how the patients arm is currently lying or the way they hand their wrist to me.

Specializes in Emergency Department.

I usually use the radial pulse. If I can't feel it, I'll gently extend the wrist. If I still can't feel it, I'll try the other wrist. If I still can't feel it, I'll go carotid. If I still can't feel it, I'll go apical. If the pulse is irregular, I'll listen to the apical and feel whatever palpable pulse and count the rate apically and note how many "dropped" pulses I feel. This way I'm not having to keep track of two pulses, just the heart rate and the dropped beats. I really don't care where the pulse is, just that I can feel it or not...


1 Post

A lot of my patients are lying down when I do their vitals. I usually hold their wrist up slightly while pressing their inner wrist with my right hand index and middle finger feeling for their pulse.


6,011 Posts


I sometimes lack a left radial pulse, I believe it's because of surgery near there,

You take it wherever you can find it; wrist, carotid, groin, apical...wherever!

On my floor the techs sometimes got the routine vitals, and every single patient would have a respiration of 20.

I happen to have a low respiratory rate...I don't know why... and mine hovers in the 9 to 11 resp/min. I am breathing, I am satting at 99%...I got some patient records from my last stay and yes...respiration 20!!

Specializes in Emergency.
I can't rely on pulse ox or the pulse that my blood pressure machine gives because 95% of the patients on my floor have A-fib, I usually just do a radial in whatever position they happen to be in.

What, you don't like heart rates in the 190's?


14 Posts

I work with babies, so I always check it Apically :)

Specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab.

I like apical the best. I can hear it a lot better than I can feel it. But I will spot check the pedal pulses when I was on the floor on every one of my pts.


12 Posts

Look at the number next to the a=line on the mokitor,duhhhh!


12 Posts

dsylexia strikes again,I really can spell,any mispelled words here?lol

newtress, LPN

1 Article; 431 Posts

Specializes in med surg ltc psych.

I like this


1,191 Posts

Specializes in COS-C, Risk Management.

Maybe I'm an overachiever, but I always check an apical pulse, even in clinic setting. Not sure why, just the way I do it.

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