Chapter 3: Pulse and Respiration

Test Yourself: List in the Correct Order – Answers

The steps are listed in the correct order for each of the following techniques. These are printable flashcards to help you memorize and practice the techniques.

Radial Pulse Technique

  1. Use the pads of your first three fingers to gently palpate the radial pulse along the radius bone close to the flexor aspect of the wrist
  2. Press down with your fingers until you can best feel the pulsation
  3. Note the rate, rhythm, force, and equality when measuring the radial pulse

Carotid Pulse Technique

  1. Ask the client to sit upright
  2. Locate the carotid artery medial to the sternomastoid muscle in the middle third of the neck
  3. Gently palpate the carotid artery one at a time
  4. Note the rate, rhythm, force, and equality when measuring the carotid pulse

Apical Pulse Technique

  1. Ask the client to lay flat in a supine position
  2. Physically palpate the intercostal spaces to locate the landmark of the apical pulse
  3. Auscultate the apical pulse
  4. Note the rate and rhythm

Brachial Pulse Technique

  1. Palpate the bicep tendon in the area of the antecubital fossa
  2. Move your fingers medial from the tendon and about one inch above the antecubital fossa to locate the pulse
  3. Note the rate and rhythm

Respiration Technique

  1. Leave your fingers in place when you are done counting the pulse, and then begin assessing respiration
  2. Observe the rise and fall of the chest or abdomen
  3. Count for 30 seconds if the rhythm is regular or for a full minute if it is irregular
  4. Report respiration as breaths per minute, as well as whether breathing is relaxed, silent, and has a regular rhythm