Welcome to Episode 64

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Tip of the Week– Vital Signs Review Pt. 2

Vital Signs for Student Nurses Review Pt. 1

Last week’s tip for nurses and nursing students looked at the individual vital signs and normal ranges for adults.  This week, we take the vital signs and examine how to use them to track changes (trends) in our patients.  Seems obvious?

Maybe not.

One of the issues for students and some newer nurses is the realization that vital signs don’t exist in a vacuum.  They are merely part of the picture.  While at their most basic they can indicate the absence of life, most of the time, vital signs are a glimpse of the homeostatic balance or lack thereof present in our patients.

It is kind of like painting a picture or assembling a puzzle.  The vital signs represent just a few colors or parts of the puzzle but don’t fill in all of the gaps.  The nurse assembles the other puzzle pieces from the chart and things like the patient assessment and history.

As the puzzle begins to take shape, the patient’s picture is revealed.  Sometimes it’s revealed slowly as the labs and imaging tests are added.  Other times, the answer leaps out after only a few pieces are gathered, offering care givers the opportunity to more rapidly intervene.

Remember this puzzle analogy and apply your knowledge of the patient’s whole presentation when you look at vital signs.  Review more about vital signs for nurses using the links below.

A Practical Guide to Clinical Medicine

University of Manitoba Student Nurse Lab

Vital Signs from AllNurses.com Forums


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Song this week: Ingrid Michaelson with, “The Way I Am”
Ingrid Michaelson - Girls and Boys - The Way I Am


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  1. […] episodes and articles here at the Nursing Show have discussed the importance of telemedicine follow-up on […]

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