Do you trust automatic "vitals" machines??

  1. At our hospital the CNA's use "robo nurses" to take vitals. It is relatively fast for them, taking BP and pulse and o2 sats at the same time. However the more I work, the less I trust them. It seems like one night the CNA reports all my pts. BP's are up, another night they are low. Or they can't get the machine to work. I take them manually to check. Sometimes I agree with the machine, sometimes not. Also the pulse ox seems weird. It will often show lower sats then the hand held machine.

    When I was in RN school we were told to not use these machines, but the BP cuffs in the rooms are not always in good shape either. I do prefer to check my pts. pulses on both sides during an assessment if I can and at the same time I can accurately check respirations.

    What do you all think about these machines? Does your facility use them???
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    About Fairlythere, RN

    Joined: Apr '06; Posts: 87; Likes: 6


  3. by   TazziRN
    We use them but we have backups. The sat checks will not be accurate if the pt's fingers are cold, no matter how high the sat really is. I don't trust the BP/pulse readings if the pt cannot hold his/her arm relatively still.
  4. by   Creamsoda
    We use them too...not the same brand, but same idea. If a bp is unusually high or low, I recheck manually, and usually the numbers are pretty consistent. Honestly, to do all the bp's manualy on a med/surg unit, there wouldnt be enough time in a day to get everything done.

  5. by   Nurse Crystal
    i do not think that the auto vital machines are very accurate especially the b/ps. i have encountered several intances on the floor i work with inaccurate b/ps from the machine. if i am going to give a b/p med i always recheck them manually just to be safe and usually it is to my advantage because my reading is no where close to the auto b/p reading. i have noticed that a lot of times the auto machines tend to run higher for b/p for some reason. i think they are good at showing a trend as with vitals that have to be taken often such as surg. vitals or blood vitals but i would rather b/p be taken with a good old fashioned cuff.
  6. by   TazziRN
    Quote from Cher1983
    Honestly, to do all the bp's manualy on a med/surg unit, there wouldnt be enough time in a day to get everything done.


    Uhh.......I wouldn't say that too loudly........there are lots of retired nurses here..........
  7. by   TigerGalLE
    I worked as a tech for about 6 months. Some evenings I would have 18 patients to do vitals on, feed, turn ect. I was a patient care technician so i could also do blood draws, catheters, dressing changes, blood sugars.... I trusted the machines b/c usually if it was high or low i would check it manually and get the same thing. The pulse was always accurate when compared to the hand held pulse Ox machine. I would count as well if it was high or low and they would be accurate.

    If I had to do vitals manually I wouldn't have time to do anything else!! So I am very thankful they exist.. But if you ever doubt them.. definately check it manually!!
  8. by   SCRN1
    I don't trust them. We do use them and if the patient's vitals are pretty normal, I don't mind so much. But if their condition changes, I do check them manually or if there's a reading that's too high or too low, I check them again manually.

    At the previous hospital where I worked, they ended up taking all the Dynamaps off the floors and said we were to take vital signs manually only.

    The size of the cuff makes a difference also. If it doesn't fit correctly, you'll get incorrect vitals. I've also found that if a patient tenses up their muscles, you'll get a higher BP. Also, you can get a lower reading sometimes on the left arm than on the right.
  9. by   sunneeRN
    The other night, my patient was an avid runner and the bp machine said that her heart rate was 200..when i rechecked myself, it was 48. Also (and this is funny) my friend at Children's hospital said that a CNA reported that all patients had high pressures one night. my friend put the bp cuff on a cabbage patch doll for laughs and the machine actually read a bp no, i usually do not rely on the machines!
  10. by   NicoleRN07
    I don't always trust the automatic machines. If there's something abnormal, then I ALWAYS check it for myself. If the patient is moving, the BP reads higher, than a manual BP. The sat will not be accurate if the patients fingers are cold, or they have nail polish on, and the HR will not be accurate if your patient has an irregular heart rate. As a general rule....I just do it "the real way". It's even quicker.
  11. by   berry
    In controlled trials automatic NIBPMs perform constantly more accurate then manual auscultation. I will add this involves proper size and placement of cuff. If you have frequent errors (everybody's pressure is up or down) it is far more likely operator error than machine
  12. by   fultzymom
    Personally, I do not like to use them. It seems as if they read either high or low et I encourage the STNA's to use the manual. If they do use it I try to recheck anything that I find to be out of the ordinary. I would rather recheck et find it is right than for it to be wrong.
  13. by   clee1
    Don't like 'em, don't trust 'em.

    If I get the least bit hinky about a result from one, or of the vitals don't seem to match the clinical sx, I do it all manually.
  14. by   RNOTODAY
    yup, better than myself