Checking vitals on staff

  1. Hi,
    Are we allowed to check for example, the kitchen staff blood pressure if he feels ill? Or do we need to send him straight to the ER downstairs?
    When I was studying for my nclex exam before I remember we are not suppose to check other people's vitals except for our patients due to liability.
  2. Visit kelsie*bear profile page

    About kelsie*bear

    Joined: Jun '08; Posts: 25; Likes: 6


  3. by   Sour Lemon
    This may vary by facility. I can think of plenty of times staff have checked each other's vitals, but not in an "official " manner. I've never encountered kitchen staff or anyone like that asking, though.
    We've been allowed to check on anyone in distress at every hospital I've worked at, but there's been a process for it that involves an incident report and whatnot.
  4. by   JKL33
    Neither. The staff member who doesn't feel well should speak with his/her supervisor.
  5. by   Buckeye.nurse
    I second everything Sour Lemon said. At my current facility, there is a visitor/staff/non-patient ERT we can call for any non-patient who needs medical attention. We can then begin first aid, v/s check, blood glucose check (there is an emergency visitor code we can enter into the glucometer), etc. until the ERT team arrives. The team stabilizes the ill person if needed, fills out all necessary paperwork, and then transports them to the ER if deemed necessary and the ill person agrees.
  6. by   kelsie*bear
    Thank you all for your comments. I know in nclex study guide and in my nclex exam we are not suppose to assess non-patients but to send them to ER if needed.
  7. by   marienm, RN, CCRN
    This will definitely vary by institution. For example, at my hospital we are explicitly prohibited from checking a blood glucose on a non-patient, and making up an ID number to do a BG check will only get us in trouble! On the other hand, if a fellow nurse asked me to check their BP I would probably do it, and I've definitely dressed minor wounds (like, "I cut my arm working in my yard" wounds) for co-workers. In NCLEX-land, though, none of these would fly--I don't have an MD order to do any of these things, and (more importantly), I don't have any way to follow up on what I find. Let's say you check the kitchen worker's BP and it's 210/140...what can you do about it? Start an IV and start titrating some labetalol? He's better off going to the ED where he can be completely triaged including a medication and medical history and appropriate treatment given. On the other hand, what if you check him and his BP is 115/ you tell him he's fine? He doesn't feel well, and you don't really have the tools (or the qualifications) to evaluate him further. Maybe you checking his BP will give him the confidence to get through the rest of his shift, but that's not your responsibility and you don't want it to be your liability.
  8. by   humerusRN
    If you go down on the job, we will take care of you. We had a resident not too long ago come along, looking very ill.... leaned against a wall as if she was going to faint... nursing staff had her seated, vitals taken (including glucose), and a glass of water in her hand with a handful of crackers within three minutes. We are a team, we take care of each other. Now, a visitor? We ship you to the ER. But if you are one of us? We take care of our own.
  9. by   BlinkyPinky
    I've always agreed to do this anywhere I've worked. It's NOT like giving them an OTC ( OH THE HORROR!); and it can be helpful. Just this past week a staff was experiencing some S/S ; one of the things we did is a BP and oximeter WHY NOT
    she was taken to the hospital by her supervisor, and as of Friday , was still an inpatient!
  10. by   JKL33
    It's one thing to participate in efforts laid out by policy for taking care of these situations, or assisting a supervisor who is evaluating the situation.

    There's also a difference between visibly appearing ill and "not feeling well."

    I guess I'd amend my answer to say that I'd obviously help anyone who needed immediate help.

    If they don't feel well and look a little off but there's no apparent emergency, I would do initial assessments while contacting their supervisor.

    But I would not advise anyone who doesn't feel well whether they should go to ED or not or what they should do about their situation. That is supervisor territory. I also avoid these latter situations because they are often used to manifest drama. I'm not getting in the middle of a situation where someone doesn't feel well and wanders around the department/unit looking for a nurse who will lend validity to the idea they shouldn't be at work. "I don't feel good and I asked JKL what I should do and she said I should probably go to the ED..." - uh, no. If there is no emergency or serious urgency, then the supervisor of whatever department the employee works in (including non-clinical) is perfectly capable of following company policy without my help. Just show the appropriate concern for your coworker and say, "ugh...that stinks - what's going on?
    [listen briefly]. I think you should probably call [supervisor's name] and see what s/he wants you to do...."

    ^ These lower-key situations are what I assumed the OP was asking about.
  11. by   FolksBtrippin
    Quote from kelsie*bear
    Thank you all for your comments. I know in nclex study guide and in my nclex exam we are not suppose to assess non-patients but to send them to ER if needed.
    I took the NCLEX in 2017. There was nothing about assessing "non-patients" whatsoever. Did it change?
  12. by   Jory
    There is no liability. Ever hear of someone suing Walmart because they had hypertension after using their blood pressure cuff?

    No you have not. Even if you have a patient that comes into the ER with a full blown MI and they want to go home? Guess what? They get to go home. They can accept/refuse any care they want.
  13. by   Susie2310
    Re the OP, I would be interested to hear what the nurse attorney who offers guidance on this forum has to say about this. I have always understood that as a licensed nurse, once you begin to assess a person who is not legally your patient, even if you just take their blood pressure, legally you have established a duty of care to that person. The question is what you do after taking the person's blood pressure. You don't have information about their medical history, medications they are taking, allergies, etc., that a physician would already have or be in the process of establishing. As I understand it, you are in the position of then giving medical advice as you are interpreting that blood pressure information and then giving a suggestion/recommendation (a treatment recommendation) - I'm not sure that you can legally even say: "Your BP is normal but I'd advise you to go to the ED so they can do a proper work up and find out why you're feeling ill." We are covered legally for care we provide under Good Samaritan laws, but short of a medical emergency I have always understood that the appropriate action, for example, if a neighbor is feeling ill and asks me to check their BP, is to advise him/her to seek medical care from their physician or go to the ED.
    Last edit by Susie2310 on Sep 20
  14. by   Susie2310
    Quote from Jory
    There is no liability. Ever hear of someone suing Walmart because they had hypertension after using their blood pressure cuff?
    As I see it, taking your BP with a machine at Walmart is a different situation to a licensed nurse taking the BP of a person who is not legally their patient.