I admit it: I’m lazy. I will use whatever I can to make my life easier. Microwave food? Sure. Canned soup instead of from scratch? Any day of the week. Automatic BP machine? A necessity.
Usually the start of the shift involves the staff running out of the report room, like the famed running of the bulls in a frantic search for a Dynamap to call our own. I’m serious; it’s nearly like a food riot some nights, complete with taunting and trash talking. Hell, some folks, will stash machines in empty rooms before going into report just to ensure they have one when they come out. When you look at it though, it’s quite amusing and rather pointless. It’s all about the ease of it. You just wrap the cuff, slap on the sat monitor and hit the “go” button and chat it up with your patient. Easy.
So I wasn’t on my game the other night and didn’t snag one. Standing in the middle of hallway, desperately searching for that blue-colored savior and none were to be seen. All that was left was a lonely old manual cuff on wheels, sitting long-forgotten at the end of the hall. Sighing resignedly, I grabbed it. Went and checked out a portable sat machine and thermometer and went to start rounds.
The first patient looked at the old cart and said, “I haven’t seen one of those forever, y’all seem to only use the automatics all the time.” To which I replied, “Yep, I’m just old-school tonight.” But as the night went on, I came to an epiphany: it worked better. It was quieter, no noisy alarms, no loud start-up sounds, just the old wheels skidding across the linoleum. I even tried an automatic on one patient and it couldn’t find her pulse to take a pressure and ended up flashing “Error” at me. Hooked her up and took it manually and had not an issue.
Now it’s not like I never take manual blood pressures when I have a machine, but admittedly, it is rare. Sure, if I get a reading that is way out of whack, or just doesn’t seem right by machine, I’ll check it by hand. In the last Code I was, in the machine couldn’t get a pressure and I could only get one by palpation. They have their use, but I’m a reconvert to manuals. So call me old-skool, but I’m OK with that.