d. Verify Patient's Identity. When you are assigned to take a certain patient's
temperature, make sure that the patient is the one you want. If the patient is wearing an
identification bracelet, check the name on the band against the name on your form.
You may also check his bed card and ask him his name. If you verify the patient's
identity orally, you should ask, "What is your name, please?" rather than asking, "Are
you Mr. Smith?" A mentally confused patient may answer, "Yes," to the second
question without even understanding the question. In the field, check the name on the
patient's identification tag (dog tag) or the name on his uniform.
e. Examine Thermometer. Make sure that the thermometer you are going to
use is actually an oral thermometer and that the thermometer has been shaken down.
(1) Pick up thermometer. Pick up one of the thermometers from the
container marked "clean." Only touch the stem end of the thermometer. If you touch a
part of the thermometer that will enter the patient's mouth, the thermometer is
contaminated. Place any contaminated thermometer in the "used" thermometer
container and pick up another thermometer from the "clean" thermometer container.
(2) Check type of thermometer. Look at the thermometer to make sure that
it is an oral thermometer. The stem end of the thermometer should be colored blue. If
you have a rectal thermometer tray, return it and obtain an oral thermometer tray.
(3) Check temperature. Read the temperature shown on the thermometer.
If the temperature reading is 94 F or higher, shake down the thermometer until the
reading is below 94 F. When shaking down the thermometer, be sure to not touch the
part of the thermometer that will go into the patient's mouth. Also, be careful to keep the
thermometer from coming into contact with other objects.
f. Tell Patient About The Procedure. Tell the patient that you are going to
take his temperature. Tell the patient what you need him to do it a courteous, but
efficient, manner. Being pleasant to the patient will help to enlist his cooperation (which
will make your job easier) and help the patient to relax.
g. Position Thermometer.
(1) Ask the patient to open his mouth. If the patient's tongue is not raised so
that you can insert the thermometer under the tongue, give the patient further
instructions to lift his tongue.
(2) Place the bulb on a heat pocket. The mouth has two "heat pockets"
located on the bottom (floor) of the mouth at the base of the tongue (figure 2-8). One
heat pocket is location on the right side of the tongue's base while the other heat pocket
is located on the left side. The heat pockets are in line with the molars (teeth used for
chewing). Place the thermometer so that the bulb is on top of one heat pocket with the
stem near the front of the mouth on the opposite side of the mouth (figure 2-9).
Crossing the center line of the mouth will help keep the thermometer in place.