the steps to taking a radial pulse

What is pulse and why is it important?


  • Pulse is one of the vital signs. Changes in pulse can indicate whether there is a problem in persons health.
  • Pulse is the reflection of the heart beat.
  • The most common site is the radial pulse. Radial pulse is on the lower side of the wrist.
  • Three things to look for while taking pulse is the rate, rhythm, and the volume.
  • Rate will determine if pulse is too fast(tachycardia), too slow(bradycardia), and normal. Rhythm will either be regular or irregular(arrythmia). Volume will determine whether the pulse is strong, weak, thready, or bounding.
  • Normal adult pulse rates are 60-100 bpm.
  • Normal infants pulse rates are 100-160 bpm.
  • Children under 7 normal pulse rates 80-110 bpm, Children over 7 normal pulse rates 70-90 bpm

Step 1:

Wash Hands

Step 2:

Introduce self to client

Explain procedure to client, speaking clearly, slowly, and directly, maintain face-to-face contact whenever possible.

Step 3:

Step 4:

Place fingetips on thumb side of clients wrist to locate radial pulse

Step 5:


Count beats for one full minute

Step 6:

Make sure signaling device is within clients reach

Step 7:

Wash hands

Step 8:

After obtaining pulse by paplating in radial artery position, record pulse rate within plus or minus 4 beats of evaluator's reading
*Count for one full minute.