Exams raise my blood pressure…and now I can prove it!

So…exam 2 is on Monday.


I think I’m going to get a lot of use out of this one image 😉

Though, Exam 2 is a bit of a different situation then Exam 1.  With the first one we had no idea what to expect, and that made it a lot scarier to us.  Now that we have one behind us, and the knowledge that we actually can pass one, it isn’t quite as scary, but it’s still undeniably stressful.  I feel a lot more tired right now – I’ve been waking up earlier than I should by accident, as what I’m pretty sure is an unconscious stress mechanism – but the show must go on, and I’m still on track with my study plan, so it’s not all bad news 🙂

And then there was the fact that we learned how to measure blood pressure with our cuffs and stethoscopes in clinical skills yesterday, which was a lot of fun! It’s actually easier than one might imagine – you start with palpating the ulnar pulse and recording the beats for 15 seconds. You then multiply that number by 4 (60 seconds in a minute).  You use that number as a range, and when you are inflating the cuff, you inflate it to 30 ml higher than that number.  You then put the cuff on so that it is medial to the artery, place your stethoscope medial to the artery slightly under the cuff, close the valve and inflate the cuff to that number.  Then you slowly release the valve (as slow as possible) and you are looking for the sound of the heartbeat returning, which is the systolic pressure.  The diastolic is the heart sound disappearing, which then gives you the 120/80 (ideal number) blood pressure that the doctor tells you.  The sounds are hard to hear, though this is probably because this was our first time doing it (hopefully), and working the valve slowly is not easy as well.


Pictured above: coordination.  Its harder than it appears!

Still, for right now, it’s pretty fun to practice! I think this is mostly because this is our first actual doctor skill we’ve learned, and it’s the first one that we get to use our interments for.  My roommate, mother and anyone else who I can convince to stay still for a few minutes are going to get really tired of me practicing that skill I’m sure, but at least they’ll always know their blood pressure!

Also, apparently either a hurricane or a tropical storm is going to hit Newfoundland this weekend, which normally would be a bummer, but given that my weekend plan is to hunker down with snacks and notes and not leave my room, the shitty weather will be good deterrent for wanting to go outside and not study.  We might even lose power, so I suppose I’ll find a flashlight…and it’ll limit my YouTube time!

Now, if only I could make it so we lost power on Monday… 😉

8 Comments Add yours

  1. nat.n says:

    You’re going to ace these exams!

    1. dellaliz19 says:

      Here’s hoping! Thanks for the positivity, and for stopping by! 🙂

  2. Indeed sphygmomanometer coordination (love that word) is certainly an acquired skill ;D The ultimate test is being able to get an accurate BP reading in the back of a moving ambulance on a crashing patient. Practice makes perfect – keep it up!

    1. dellaliz19 says:

      I’m sure! We have a hard time doing it stationary, so I can’t even imagine that! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  3. Homaira says:

    Hello Della! It’s going to be interesting reading about medical school from a Canadian perspective. Thanks for writing!

    1. dellaliz19 says:

      No problem – hope you continue to find it interesting, and thanks for stopping by 🙂

  4. Ann says:

    Several problems with this post. You palpate a pulse, not palpitate. Radial pulse would be easier to feel than ulnar. Technique is wrong, you do not use pulse as an estimate of pressure; by this logic with HR 72 and BP 110/86 (roughly my numbers) you would not even obliterate the pulse as you would only inflate to 102. Here is the technique. http://www.osceskills.com/e-learning/subjects/blood-pressure-measurement/

    1. dellaliz19 says:

      Thank you for catching my spelling mistake – the reason I put ulnar is because I’m terrible at finding a pulse with my fingers and I actually find the ulnar easier. They taught us to use the pulse as a guideline, but I will absolutely look at your link and ask my profs about any differences in methodology. Thanks for the info 🙂

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