Figure 2-7. A thermometer tray.
(2) Gauze pads. You will need at least one gauze pad, usually the 2-inch
by 2-inch size, for each oral temperature to be taken.
(3) Time piece. You will need a watch or clock to measure the time that the
patient has had the thermometer in his mouth. A clock or watch with a second hand is
preferred since a second hand is needed when measuring the patient's pulse and
(4) Writing materials. You will need a pencil or pen and something on which
to write the patient's temperature reading. A note pad or a sheet of paper is usually
sufficient. If you are to write the patient's temperature on a form, you will be told what
from to use. Forms used in recording vital signs are discussed in detail in Lesson 6.
c. Verify That the Oral Route Should Be Used. Verify that none of these
contraindications given in paragraph 2-18b exists before taking the patient's
(1) Check patient's chart. Make sure that there is no order to take the
patient's temperature using the rectal or axillary route.
(2) Observe patient. Some information can be obtained by observing the
patient as you approach him. For example, if you see that the patient is coughing
constantly, you know that another method of obtaining the patient's temperature should
be used. Awaken any sleeping patient.
(3) Ask patient questions concerning contraindications. Ask the patient if he
has smoked, eaten hot or cold foods, drank hot or cold fluid, or chewed gum within the
last half-hour. If the patient has done any of these things within the last half-hour, then
you must decide whether to wait and take his oral temperature later or take his
temperature now using a different procedure (usually the rectal method).