The purposes of this study were: (1) to find out if it is necessary to check temperatures of adult medical and surgical patients as frequently as it has been done in the selected hospital; and (2) to show that factors of beginning elevations can be identified without checking patients’ temperatures more than once daily.
A survey was conducted of fifty-nine adult medical and forty adult surgical patients' temperatures from the time they were admitted until they were discharged or for ten days. A total of 2,484 temperatures were studied. Most of the patients had their highest temperatures at 8 p.m.
Ninety-two percent of the temperatures were normal and 8 percent were elevated. Of the 190 elevated temperatures, 147 were those of surgical patients and 43 of medical patients, although the medical group was larger.
Most of the elevated temperatures for the medical patients occurred during the first three days after admission. The surgical patients had most of their elevated temperatures during the first three days after surgery.
Twenty-five patients who had beginning elevations of temperatures were seen. The patients with temperature elevations that did not go to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or above did not exhibit as many symptoms of fever as did those with temperatures of 100 degrees or more. Causative factors were more pronounced for those patients who had elevated temperatures that went to 100 degrees or more. Surgery and blood transfusions seem to be the main therapeutic procedures causing elevations although patients with phlebitis after receiving intravenous fluids and after radiation therapy also exhibited symptoms of fever.
It was concluded that temperatures taken once daily at 8 p.m. would be sufficient except for the first three days after admission or surgery or if the patient’s condition warranted its being taken more often.
L. Lucile Lewis
Gertrude L. Haussler
Master of Science (MS)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Body Temperature; Postoperative Care
Loma Linda University Libraries
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.
Smeltzer, Marie Ardith, "A Survey of Temperatures of Adult Medical and Surgical Patients" (1968). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 950.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives