Count the pulse for a full 60 seconds!

This care plan instructs us to count for one full minute, and that is what we will be graded on! Every patient is different. Each one will have different needs. In some settings, for some patients, you can count for 15 seconds and multiply by 4 (often done in a clinical setting). But for some reason, the RN who has assessed this patient wants us to count for one full minute instead of 15 seconds. Maybe the patient is on a new medication. Maybe they have an irregular heart beat. Maybe they just engaged in a specific activity that affects their heart rate. We don’t need to know WHY the RN wants us to count for one full minute…it is enough to know that right now, right here, for this patient, that is what we have to do! So, follow the care plan and count for one full minute.

Radial Pulse ONLY!

Don’t get fancy here and pull out your stethoscope, thinking you are going to show the evaluator how smart you are and listen to the patient’s heart beat to get the pulse (called an apical pulse). That is NOT what the care plan told you to do! You will fail if you don’t follow the care plan exactly. So take the radial pulse, measured at the wrist, just like the care plan says!

In Florida, you have to count twice…

Florida has 2 evaluators. Each evaluator has to have the chance to grade your accuracy. So, you will count with the first evaluator, record your reading and then count with the second evaluator. This is the only skill that must be done twice during the test.

Don’t forget to write it down!

If you measure something in healthcare, it is in your head…no where else…until you write it down. Since you are measuring something for the nurse, that isn’t much help if it is only in your head! You must write it down so that others can use that information! If you forget to write it down, it’s like it wasn’t done because we still don’t have the information to make medical decisions!