Current practice and knowledge of nurses regarding patient temperature measurement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The measurement of patient temperature by nursing staff is a common activity. In recent years this area of practice has been largely under-investigated despite the introduction of new technologies into clinical practice, such as infrared tympanic thermometry (IRTT).

STUDY AIM: To investigate current practice in clinical temperature measurement in general, and the use of IRTT in particular by nursing staff.

SAMPLE AND METHODS: 139 nursing staff from a general hospital in the UK were surveyed via a self-administered questionnaire.

MAIN FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS: The group most involved in temperature measurement was characterized as nursing auxiliary grades with the fewest years of experience. IRTT was the most frequently-used method for measuring patient temperatures, with high perceived accuracy, reliability, ease of use and acceptability to patients. A poor level of understanding and training in the use of IRTT was revealed across all clinical grades. Recommendations for future investigations are made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-23
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Medical Engineering and Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2006


  • Employment
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Nurses
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Professional Competence
  • Spectrophotometry, Infrared
  • Thermography
  • United Kingdom
  • Journal Article


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