Interpretation of Vital Signs - What is Normal?

Video Learning Activity

  • Overview of Activity
  • Need/Aim for Activity
  • Method of Delivery
  • Requirements for Successful Completion
  • Accreditation Status
  • CPD/CNE Contact Hours
  • Cite this VLA

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This Video Learning Activity (VLA) provides a practical and easy to understand discussion about the assessment of vital signs and explores the issue of the interpretation of vital signs relative to the circumstances under which the assessment occurs.

Topics include:

  • A critical discussion on the concept of ‘normal’ and ‘normal ranges’
  • Sensitivity and specificity: why these matter
  • Why a misunderstanding of ‘normal’ can generate unwarranted interventions
  • The importance of understanding the relationship between assessment findings and the context of interpretation
  • Correct measurement, ranges, variations and abnormalities of heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and respiratory rate

Target audience:

This VLA will be of interest to nurses and midwifes working in all ares of clinical practice.

The aim of this VLA is to provide an update on the correct interpretation of vital signs, with a particular emphasis on the concept of normal ranges and the context of interpretation.

The assessment of vital signs is an integral component of nursing practice and requires a high degree of knowledge and skill to perform properly. Additionally, the interpretation of the results of the assessment will be directly influenced by individual interpretations of what ‘normal’ vital signs are and how these relate to the context of the assessment. There is a clear need to establish a consistency of understanding regarding this nursing activity and to clarify the statistical concept of normality. Given the short length of stay that clients generally undergo within the health environment today, nurses and midwives are increasingly required to make accurate and reliable vital sign assessment in order to facilitate effective decision making by the appropriate health professionals.

Nurses in Australia, are required to obtain a minimum of 20 continuing professional development (CPD) hours each year that relates to their context of practice in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements.

This educational Video Learning Activity is presented in an engaging and convenient ‘school-of-one’ online delivery format.

The activity contains:

  1. An illustrated video lecture.
  2. Time for self-evaluation involving MCQs, reflection on your practice and documenting in your CPD Organiser or other CPD/CNE portfolio.
  3. Opportunity for review of resource material including: links to online lectures of relevance and information regarding related conferences when available.
  4. Evaluation survey. This evaluation has been designed to determine how your knowledge has been enhanced and strengthened by completing this VLA and to measure your satisfaction with the VLA.
  5. Certificate of completion.

In order to finish this CPD activity and be awarded an Activity Completion Certificate, you will need to:

  • watch the video
  • achieve a 100% score in the test your learning questions
  • document your learning in your CPD Organiser or CPD/CNE portfolio
  • complete the evaluation of the VLA.

You can review the video and attempt the test your learning questions as often as necessary to achieve a 100% score, but it is important to demonstrate a high level of learning across all aspects of this topic and to ensure that all objectives have been achieved before completion.

1.0 Ausmed CPD hour.

1.0 contact hour(s) of continuing nursing education (CNE) for RNs and APNs.
Ausmed Education Learning Centre is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

1.0 CPD/CNE hour(s), consisting of:
40 minute (approx) illustrated video lecture
20 minutes for self-evaluation involving MCQs, reflection on your practice and documentation of this in your CPD Organiser or other CPD/CNE portfolio and completion of the evaluation of the VLA.

Citing this Video Learning Activity

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