k. Read and Record Temperature. Read the patient's temperature from the
display on the main body of the thermometer and record the reading. If the display is
not a digital readout, record the temperature to the nearest two-tenths of a degree
Fahrenheit (0.2 F) or to the nearest tenth of a degree Celsius (0.1 C), as appropriate.
l. Discard Probe Cover. The probe cover is used only once. After you have
recorded the temperature, discard the cover into a container (patient's waste basket,
etc.). Some electric thermometer are designed so that the probe cover is ejected from
the probe when you hold the probe collar between your index and middle fingers, point
the probe downward, and press on top of the probe with your thumb.
m. Return Probe to Its Resting Place. In some electric thermometers,
returning the probe to its resting place automatically turns off the thermometer and
resets the thermometer so that it is ready for the next use.
h. Wash Hands. Perform another patient care hand wash.
2-20. WHEN SHOULD I TAKE A RECTAL TEMPERATURE?
a. When a Rectal Temperature Should Be Taken. A rectal temperature
should be taken if one of the two following situations exists.
(1) The physician or nurse has ordered that a rectal temperature be taken.
(A rectal temperature may be ordered because it is more accurate measurement of a
patient's body temperature than are oral and axillary temperature readings.)
(2) The temperature route (oral, rectal, or axillary) has not been specified,
conditions exist which contraindicate the oral route (paragraph 2-17b), and no
conditions exist that contraindicate taking a rectal temperature (paragraph "b" below).
The rectal procedure is normally used for an infant or young child, for a patient who is
unconscious or irrational, and for a patient that has difficulty breathing with his mouth
closed. The rectal route is used in the case of any suspected environmental injury such
b. When a Rectal Temperature Should Not Be Taken. Do not take a patient's
rectal temperature if one or more of the following conditions (contraindications) are
(1) The patient has a heart (cardiac) condition. (The thermometer or probe
could stimulate the vagus nerve in the rectum and cause cardiac arrhythmia.)
(2) The patient has hemorrhoids. (A hemorrhoid is enlarged portion of a
vein. If the thermometer or probe were to damage a hemorrhoid, pain and bleeding