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The author presented this work at the 2023 John Wesley Powell Research Conference and as the guest speaker at the Sigma Theta Tau Honors Induction.


Pulse assessment is an essential component of an individual’s health state. Assessment of a pulse by palpation is the most commonly used technique. A patient’s pulse rate informs healthcare workers of the status of a variety of body systems, including cardiac, neurologic, and endocrine functions. Despite the widespread and frequent use of pulse assessment, current methods for counting a pulse lack strong supporting evidence. Additionally, published research on accuracy of pulse palpation used only young, healthy participants without arrhythmias or cardiac problems, limiting generalizability to the broader population who contain those variables. The purpose of this study is to determine if the pulse assessment count should begin with “zero” or “one,” and to examine the length of time the pulse should be counted for (i.e., 15, 30, or 60 seconds), to ensure accuracy. The researchers found that beginning the pulse count with “zero” and counting for 15 seconds or 30 seconds and multiplying as necessary to achieve beats per minute was the most accurate. The researchers also support Stankute’s (2022) finding that counting for a full 60 seconds is not the most accurate. These findings can be used to inform healthcare providers of the most accurate and reliable methods to assess pulse rate and serve as a building block for additional studies on pulse counting.



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