CNA Skill – Count and Record Radial Pulse

The radial pulse is one of the most important cardiac functions for a CNA to know. The radial pulse is the blood pressure on the arm and can be used to assess fluid status and trends in heart rate. This blog post will teach you how to find, count, and record this vital sign.

Here is a video demonstration of how to count and record radial pulse during the CNA skills exam.

Count and Record Radial Pulse

The process for count and recording radial pulse during the CNA skills exam is as follows:

  1. First, wash your hands carefully to avoid spreading infections. Greet the patient and confirm their identity as a means of ensuring they are in good medical health at this time before beginning any further examination procedures.
  2. Palm your patient’s hand, and place only two of your fingers next to their thumb. The tips should be in the hollow on top of their wrist. Apply pressure as you feel around for a pulse with those same two fingers until it becomes clear enough that you can properly locate it without applying too much pressure any longer; this may take some practice.
  3. The pulse rate can be estimated by counting the number of beats in 30 seconds. To calculate their heart rate per minute, just multiply that number by two and you will get your answer! If someone has an irregular heartbeat, it is best to count for a full 60 seconds as opposed to only 30.
  4. After counting the patient’s pulse, wash your hands again.
  5. Finally, record the pulse rate into the chart.

Additional Tips

Here are some additional tips to count and record radial pulse.

  • Stressful situations can cause an increase in heart rate, but so too can caffeine and other stimulants. Illegal drugs are also able to speed up the heartbeat of those who take them. Medications that stimulate or regulate nerves will have a similar effect on a patient’s heart rate.
  • The heart rate of a patient with an infection or fever is typically high, as are the cases for patients who bleed. If you’re worried about their condition and don’t know what to do, report it immediately so appropriate steps can be taken.

In this blog post, we’ve covered the basics for counting and recording pulse rate. If you want to learn more skills like these, be sure to visit our other skill test posts.

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