(2) Use your free hand to lift the patient's elbow so that his upper arm is no
longer resting against his chest.
Remove the thermometer from the axillary.
j. Wipe Thermometer. Wipe the thermometer with a gauze pad. Begin near
the stem end and wipe toward the bulb with one downward motion.
k. Read and Record Temperature. Read the thermometer to the nearest
0.2 F (or nearest 0.1 C). Then record the temperature on the form or paper. Write a
circled "A" above the temperature reading to indicate that it is axillary temperature
rather than an oral temperature.
l. Place Thermometer in "Used" Container. Place the thermometer into the
"used" container on the thermometer tray. The thermometer must be decontaminated
before it can be used again.
m. Wash Hands. Perform another patient care hand wash.
2-25. HOW ARE GLASS THERMOMETERS DECONTAMINATED?
Glass thermometers must be cleaned and decontaminated before they can be
reused. If thermometers were not decontaminated before being reused, then they could
transfer disease from one patient to another patient. The procedures for cleaning and
decontaminating thermometers are governed by local SOP. If thermometers are to be
sterilized by the Centralized Materiel Section (CMS), an element of the Department of
Nursing in the hospital, they should be washed with soap and cold-water pads before
they are sent to the CMS. However, if your unit is responsible for cleaning and
decontaminating the thermometers, you should follow the instruction given in your local
SOP. The instructions given below are typical of such instructions.
a. Gather Materials. You will need the following:
Thermometer tray with marked containers (one "clean" and one "used").
(2) Covered oblong basin in which thermometers can lie flat, such as a
Disinfecting solution, such as Wescodyne.
Soapy solution or germicide, such as providone-iodine (Betadine).