This study was concerned with determining the knowledge registered professional nurses had regarding selected factors that contributed to variations in the indirect measurement of blood pressure. It was thought that assessment of the nurses' knowledge could contribute to more effective nursing services by disclosing areas of weakness which could be strengthened by hospital in-service and nursing education. Literature was reviewed on the methods of measurement in current use, common errors encountered in indirect measures, and selected factors that influence blood pressure readings, i.e., cuff width, emotions and activities, obesity versus thinness, position of the subject, inflation and deflation of cuff pressure, and the site of measurement. The information provided a foundation for this investigation. The method of study used was the descriptive survey type; the tool for collecting information a structured interview. Fifty regularly employed registered professional nurses were interviewed. The information obtained was scored, compiled, and analyzed. It was found that most frequent alternate method of measurement the nurses used, other than auscultation, was the palpatory method. In general, most nurses could not correctly identify a systolic reading nor correctly record a reading containing variables. Only one half of the fifty respondents identified the diastolic reading adequately. Ninety-six percent did not distinguish changes in the sounds they heard during auscultation. The nurses were well informed about the effect of emotions and sleep on the blood pressure reading, but had little knowledge about the effect of cuff width, inflation and deflation of cuff pressure and site of measurement on blood pressure readings. Most respondents positioned the subject as recommended by the American Heart Association and knew the arm to be measured should be level with the heart. They knew an elevated reading could be expected in the obese individual. They did not know that excessive tissue mass or thinness at the site of measurement affected the reading. Chi square correlations revealed that there were no relationships found between the type of school from which the nurse graduated or employment opportunities for measurement to the additional preparation she gained since graduation. Positive correlations did indicate that those nurses who had more employment opportunities for measurement knew more about cuff width, obesity and thinness, and site of measurement. The baccalaureate graduate knew more about obesity and thinness than the diploma graduate in contrast, the diploma graduate had more knowledge about cuff width. It was concluded that the professional nurses were unable to transfer scientific principles of indirect measurement. They tended to mechanically measure the blood pressure and were not necessarily concerned with noting the physiological response of the body as evidenced in the sounds. The nurses' answers did not indicate that they keep abreast of new developments in blood pressure measurement. Little scientific depth was incorporated in their responses.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Winifred M. Edwards

Second Advisor

Frances L. Fickess

Third Advisor

Raymond B. Crawford

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Blood Pressure Determination; Nursing Care



Page Count

xi; 115

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives