I was at the day job talking to the guy you edits the podcast about blood pressure machines. They are a topic of discussion on this week’s episode. He mentioned he hadn’t had his BP taken in years and wondered what it was. Being the sparky EMT-B student I am – and going directly from work to class – I said “I’ve got my BP cuff and stethoscope if you want me to take it.”
So I took his BP. His brachial pulse was real easy to find, so I knew I had my stethoscope in the right place. But the tube of my stethoscope was next to one of the tubes from the BP cuff. It was swinging which gave a rhythmic noise in my ears starting up high in the 140-150 range.
But I thought, “That doesn’t sound like a pulse.” So I hung on until is got a sound that did sound like a pulse, and got a correct BP.
The interesting thing is I now know what a BP pulse sounds like. When I started it was hard to tell if I was getting a BP at all because I wasn’t sure what it sounded like. But a number of in-class vitals sessions, doing dozens during my hospital clinicals, and practicing on my family, I now know what a good sound is.
Newbies, this is why practice is so important. It teaches you what things are suppose to sound like, so when you get something wrong, you know it.