• To refresh your knowledge of the reasons for taking a patient’s temperature
• To understand the procedure for taking a patient’s temperature using the oral, tympanic, axillary and forehead sites
• To enable you to recognise the factors that may affect temperature readings
Rationale and key points
Being able to accurately assess and record a patient’s temperature is an essential nursing skill, and should be undertaken as part of a wider systematic assessment of the patient. Any concerns regarding individual recordings or trends should be escalated to other members of the healthcare team as appropriate.
• A baseline assessment of a patient’s temperature enables any changes or fluctuations to be observed, and escalated where clinically indicated.
• Accurate assessment and recording of a patient’s temperature provides an indication of their clinical condition and severity of illness.
• Undertaking regular temperature readings enables trends to be identified, the effectiveness of treatment to be determined, and improvement or deterioration of the patient to be assessed.
‘How to’ articles can support you to update your practice and ensure it remains evidence-based. Apply this article to your practice. Reflect and write a short account of:
• How reading this article may change your practice when taking and recording the patient’s temperature.
• Any further needs you have identified to enable your professional development.
Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2021.e11679Peer review
This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated softwareCorrespondence
Myatt R (2021) How to take a patient’s temperature. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2021.e11679
Disclaimer Please note that information provided by Nursing Standard is not sufficient to make the reader competent to perform the task. All clinical skills should be formally assessed according to local policy and procedures. It is the nurse’s responsibility to ensure their practice remains up to date and reflects the latest evidence
Published online: 08 February 2021
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