Fever and clinical thermometry: What do physicians and nurses really know?

  • Catarina Neves Pediatric Reumatology Unit, Hospital Pediátrico, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra
  • Inês Romão Luz Pediatric Reumatology Unit, Hospital Pediátrico, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra
  • Manuel Salgado Pediatric Reumatology Unit, Hospital Pediátrico, Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra
Keywords: Clinical thermometry, fever, healthcare professionals, normal temperature

Abstract

Introduction: Fever is a leading cause of Pediatric visits. However, most studies used as reference for fever assessment had a cross-sectional design and were conducted in adults. Different and more precise fever definitions exist within the field of knowledge known as clinical thermometry.
Aims: To assess basic knowledge of health professionals working in Pediatrics regarding fever physiopathology and clinical thermometry. Material and Methods: A cross-sectional analytical study was performed between February and July 2014 through application of an anonymous closed-end questionnaire to health professionals.
Results: From 426 questionnaires applied, 29% were completed by nurses and 71% by physicians. Within the whole group, 89% did not know how human “normal temperature” was determined, 70% did not recognize the “individual definitions” of fever, 33% acknowledged a “subfebrile” status, 39% did not recognize the most and least accurate anatomical sites for temperature measurement, and 57% did not recognize the dynamic difference between core and peripheral temperatures. Hyperthermia and fever definitions were confounded by 78% of nurses and 56% of physicians.
Conclusions: Most health professionals surveyed had a limited knowledge of fever and clinical thermometry. The traditional oversimplification of this subject can lead to underestimation of true febrile statuses.

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Published
2019-12-16
How to Cite
Neves, C., Luz, I. R., & Salgado, M. (2019). Fever and clinical thermometry: What do physicians and nurses really know?. NASCER E CRESCER - BIRTH AND GROWTH MEDICAL JOURNAL, 28(4), 191-202. https://doi.org/10.25753/BirthGrowthMJ.v28.i4.17730
Section
Original Articles