Introduction to Vital Sign Interpretation

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Students will be exposed to a wide variety of patient cases in which abnormal vital signs and their interpretations serve as the primary basis upon which clinical interventions are implemented.


Case 001
3m 17s
961 | Acute onset, fatigue, chest pain and shortness of breath
1 min 21 sec
957 | Acute onset, bradycardia
2 min 21 sec
956 | Acute Onset, Chest Pain and Dyspnea with Underlying Sickle Cell Anemia
1 min 24 sec
819 | Acute onset, 7/10 chest pain radiating to left arm and neck
1 min 7 sec
689 | Non-responsive after three days of fever, diarrhea, and respiratory distress
1 min 7 sec
666 | Fever, emesis, poor urine output, altered mental status
1 min 44 sec
264 | Shortness of breath, lower leg edema
1 min 16 sec
177 | Tachypnea, hypoxemia and fever
1 min 2 sec


Vital signs have remained easily acquirable and objective indications of an individual’s physiological function and ability to maintain homeostasis at a given moment in time. A basic understanding of how heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature influence patient health can greatly impact the guidance of patient care, which is oftentimes emergent. Cases presented in this course represent a broad patient base, most of whom present with abnormal or unstable vitals. By the end of the course, you will be able to identify abnormal vital signs, comprehend their significance to patient care, and use this knowledge to guide clinical intervention to stabilize patients while more definitive diagnoses are made.

Learning objectives

  1. Understand the four main vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and respiratory rate) and how they contribute to overall patient health.
  2. Describe commonly-encountered factors that may affect variation in vital signs.
  3. Be able to list the normal ranges, by age and sex assigned at birth, for each of the four main vital signs.
  4. Gain confidence in recognizing abnormal vital signs (i.e. vital signs that deviate from reference values) and how they might negatively impact a patient’s health status.
  5. Integrate four main vital signs and understandings of common disease states in synthesizing patient management plans.

Curriculum Alignments

ANP - Clinical Management of Adults
ANP - Clinical Management of Older Adults
ANP - Clinical Management of Women
ANP - Advanced Pathophysiology
PANCE - Cardiovascular System
PANCE - Musculoskeletal System
PANCE - Hematologic System
PANCE - Pulmonary System
CoAEMSP - Chest Pain
CoAEMSP - Shock
CoAEMSP - Cardiac Dysrhythmia and/or Cardiac Arrest
CoAEMSP - Sepsis

What’s included

Badge(s) earned
skills earned

Course Author

Dr. Christopher Behringer
ReelDx Faculty

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