Nursing 5 Vital Signs

What Are Vital Signs? - Definition & How to Take Them
April 23, 2015 – 01:46 pm

oral digital thermometerIn this lesson, you will learn about vital signs. Included will be an example, the definition of vital signs and the processes of taking vital signs. Also, a quiz is provided to assist you with this lesson.

Example and Definition

A nurse working at a clinic walks into the exam room and finds a person lying on the floor. The first thing the nurse does is to take the person's vital signs. Why? Because knowing what a person's vital signs are will tell the nurse what to do next. What are vital signs?

The first vital sign done by the nurse, in this emergency situation, would be to see if the person has a heartbeat. The nurse wants to know if the person's heart is beating and at what rate. Next the nurse will check for the person's respirations and get a blood pressure cuff to check the blood pressure. The last vital sign is temperature.oral digital thermometer In this example, the last vital sign is not as important as the first three.

Vital signs are the evidence of the current physical functioning of the body. They provide critical information that is 'vital' for life, and so they are called vital signs. There is definitely a level of importance of checking vital signs when a person is found lying on the floor like the example above.

Process of Taking Vital Signs

tympanic thermometerThere is a range of numbers provided as the norm for each vital sign. These normal ranges are referenced in MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, a service provided by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, and the values are included below:

Heart rate: 60-100 beats per minute

Respirations: 12-18 breaths per minute

Blood pressure: 90/60 to 120/80

Temperature: 97.8 to 99.1 degreeS Fahrenheit or 38 to 38.5 degrees Celsius

Please note that these ranges are the norms for the adult population, although they may vary slightly per textbook and medical websites.

In the medical community, a health care worker will also look at the normal levels for the patient. Some patient's norms vary slightly from the norms listed above. For example, a softball player may have a slower heart rate. This is because of the athletic conditioning the softball player has accomplished. The heart is a muscle and it has learned to function at a lower rate.

temperol thermometer radial pulse check Dinamap blood pressure

See also:

Interesting facts
Clark's Rule is a medical term referring to a mathematical formula used to calculate the proper dosage of medicine for children aged 2-17. The procedure is to take the child's weight in pounds, divide by 150 lb, and multiply the fractional result by the adult dose to find the equivalent child dosage.
For example: If an adult dose of medication...
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