Knowing What’s Involved in Measuring and Observing Vital Signs
Part of the written and practical test for becoming an STNA involves understanding, observing, and measuring vital signs for patients. This is something you’ll do with every patient that you encounter and being able to recognize problems with any of these vital signs, even when you’re not actively measuring them, can help you to get assistance for a patient quickly.
Noticing and Measuring Respiration
An STNA needs to know all of the various methods of measuring respiration, both with equipment and without. You’ll also need to be able to describe respiration accurately and with the correct terminology to another medical provider. Changes in respiration and difficulties that a patient seems to be having while breathing are incredibly important for you to be able to notice quickly. As an STNA, you’ll also need to be able to record respiration properly in a patient’s chart, too.
Understanding and Measuring Temperature
Temperature is an indication of how much heat is present in the patient’s body, which can indicate important information like whether an infection may be present. Being able to measure a patient’s temperature through a variety of means is part of what an STNA does. It’s important to know also what could create temporary higher or lower readings than are accurate, like eating warm or cold food before having the temperature measured.
Measuring and Understanding Pulse Rates
Pulse rate, or the number of heart beats per minute for a patient, is another important vital sign that needs to be recorded. Knowing how to measure pulse rates properly, both manually and with electronic assistance, helps an STNA to gather accurate information. It’s also important for an STNA to understand what variations in pulse rate mean, and when a pulse rate is an indication of a problem for the patient.
Measuring and Recording Blood Pressure
Learning about blood pressure, what it means, and why it’s important are all the very basics of blood pressure. You’ll also need to know what it means when blood pressure isn’t normal and the various descriptive terms for abnormal blood pressure, such as hypertension and hypotension. Measuring blood pressure with electronic tools and with a sphygmomanometer will also be part of your training.
Once you pass all of the required parts of the NATCEP, you’re a State Tested Nursing Assistant and can apply for jobs in a variety of different types of locations. In all of those different working environments, you’re going to be encountering patients and taking their vital signs.
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