Patients may need to have their pulses taken for a variety of reasons. The most common reason patients have their pulses taken is because they have a medical illness, such as heart disease. Nurses must keep a record of their patients’ pulse rate to make sure that they are in good enough condition to take medications or receive certain medical treatments. It is important that nurses can quickly check the pulse rate of patients so that doctors can provide them with the proper medical care.
What is a Pulse & Normal Resting Heart Rate?
A person’s pulse is his heart rate. In other words, the pulse is the total number of beats the heart makes in one minute. A person’s resting heart rate is the pulse when at rest. A normal adult’s resting heart rate is approximately 60 to 100 beats in one minute.
Pulse rates vary greatly from person to person. Heart rates rise when people take part in certain activities or take certain medications. The following are factors that influence heart rate: emotions, fitness level, body size, activity level, medication use, body position, and air temperature.
Arteries that are close to the skin provide the best opportunity to feel the pulse. Several arteries in the body are used to find a pulse. The most common arteries for feeling the pulse are the carotid, apical, and radial.
Types of Methods Used to Count Heart Rate
- Karvonen Method- This method uses a person’s resting heart rate to calculate the target heart rate, using an intensity range of 50-85%.
- Zoladz Method– This method creates exercise zones by subtracting certain values from the patient’s maximum heart rate.
How to Check Your Pulse
- A stethoscope is placed over the patient’s heart to get a pulse. Nurses should have a watch that has a second hand to take an apical pulse. The following offers steps in which to take to find a patient’s pulse:
- Have the patient to lie down or sit up to have the pulse taken.
- Place the buds of the stethoscope in the ears and place the disk portion over the patient’s heart.
- After hearing the heartbeat, count the number of beats for 60 seconds. Use a watch with a second hand to take the pulse. Listen for a weak, missed, or strong heartbeat.
- Record the pulse rate, time, and date the pulse was taken. The nurse should take note of any issues with the pulse rate.
Nurses can locate the radial artery inside the patient’s wrist close to the thumb. Count the patient’s pulse using a watch with a second hand. Use the following steps to get a radial pulse.
- Ask the patient to place the arms at his or her side and bend the elbow with the palm facing an upward position.
- Find the pulse of the patient’s radial artery by using the index and middle fingers. Never use the thumb to find the patient’s pulse because the thumb has its own pulse.
- Count the pulse for 60 seconds and pay close attention to the strength of the beat.
- The nurse should write down the patient’s pulse rate along with the time and date the pulse was taken. Also, write down the wrist in which the pulse was taken.
- The radial artery offers an easy manner in which to check the patient’s pulse.
Nurses can locate the patient’s carotid arteries on the left and right outer portion of the patient’s neck. Use a watch with a second hand and follow these steps to take the patient’s pulse.
- Find the patient’s pulse on the right or left side of the neck by using the index and middle fingers. Use only one side of the neck to take the pulse.
- Once the patient’s pulse has been located, count the pulse in the carotid artery for one full minute.
- Write down the patient’s carotid pulse along with the time and date taken. Pay close attention to a weak or strong beat and make note of anything noticed in the patient’s file.
Video on How to Take a Pulse
Nurses have a variety of options when it comes to taking a patient’s pulse. Most nurses use a stethoscope to locate the patient’s apical pulse. Additionally, nurses may use the carotid and radial arteries to take the patient’s pulse rate. Nurses must be able to locate the patient’s pulse very quickly because it is a part of any doctor’s visit. Learning the nursing skills of taking a patient’s pulse will come easy with experience.