Knowledge Nugget #67 . . .

SUBJECT LINE:  Business Owners and Blood Pressure Machines…

Ahh Yes, I remember it well… the day the brand new blood pressure machine hit the ward. It was like Christmas. All the nurses were fighting about who would use it first.

I was new, so obviously I was on the bottom of the list. (How I ever got out of the pan room still mystifies me.)

What I do remember vividly is, it was the only time I ever saw the Nurse Unit Manager (a grumpy old, sweat moustache wearing battle axe) touch a patient.

She, of course, was the first to use the new time saving device.

Now, before I confuse you… I’m not talking about the sphygmomanometer (the old pump action one)… I’m not that old! I’m talking about the automatic ones.

You know the ones… the machine that pumps the cuff up so tight that you think it will break your arm and the blood supply to your hand will be cut off forever.

At the time, all the nurses rejoiced because it would cut down the time it took to do our observation round.

We hyper justified how we could use it. We could wiz around the ward multi-tasking and being more productive. (As if nurses weren’t already.)

I also remember when I first used the machine on a patient.

I confidently wrapped the cuff around the patients frail, ancient arm… lined up the Velcro patches… pressed the button and it began to work.

The numbers kept rising… and rising… and I secretly wondered how high it would go.

“Shit Sister! How much does it pump up? It’s hurting me!” the patient cried.

I looked at the cuff. The Velcro was straining to stay together under the pressure contained inside the cuff.

“Just be patient, it’ll be over in a second” I said

The numbers danced around like the scales on The Biggest Loser… then it let some air out of the cuff, but my patients relief was short lived…

Here came round two! The machine pumped the cuff up again, this time applying even more pressure.

The patient was screaming blue murder… and all I could do was stare at the machine willing it to hurry up and finish.

After what seemed like forever, the machine finally got its reading… I took off the cuff, recorded the numbers and moved to my next patient.

What a glorious invention!

It made everything so much quicker.

Then not long after, they added a pulse oximeter (the part that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood… and more importantly, it conveniently takes your pulse as well)… and again the nurses rejoiced.

We all thought that anything capable of making our job easier and quicker was a good thing.

But we were wrong!

Horribly wrong.

How so?

Well, nurses have an uncanny ability of knowing things about patients that other health professionals don’t.

In fact, in one progressive hospital I worked at, one of the criteria for calling a “CODE” (where the resuscitation team runs to the ward at warp speed) is on a nurses gut feeling.

And it was for a good reason!

Too often, nurses would call for the Doctor, they’d look at the patient’s chart, glance at the patient and then say the patient looked fine… Chastise the nurse for “crying wolf” and leave the ward in a huff.

No sooner had they left the ward, the patient crashed and ended up in cardiac arrest or in some other life threatening crisis.

The Doctor would reluctantly return to the ward, tail between their legs, almost knocked over by the resuscitation team and their trolleys of life saving equipment… all the while mumbling about witchcraft and the absence of any clinical proof that this was about to happen.

But how did the nurses know?

I’ll tell you now, there is such a thing as “Nurses Intuition”… but let’s not leave it to that shallow, surface level explanation.

Let’s go deeper…

Because there is something more important for you to get here.

Something I noticed in the ward after the machines were brought in was…

Nurses no longer had to “Touch” the patients as much.

Let me explain…

When you take a manual blood pressure… you need to touch the patient more to get the equipment in the right place. You are actually listening for the point where the pressure in the cuff cuts off the blood supply. And then listening to when the blood flow comes back in.

There’s definitely an Art to it.

But there is a more subtle art that the machine stripped the nurses of.

You see, when you put the cuff on your patient’s bare arm… you can feel their skin.

You can gauge the temperature, the dryness. You can see the color.

When you put the automatic cuff on… it’s quick and often times, the cuff is put on over clothing.

Taking a pulse is the same.

Although you are counting the heart rate… you are feeling for the strength, the rhythm and you are also again feeling the skin.

When you take a pulse manually with your fingers, it gives you the cover you need to count the patient’s respirations as well without them altering their breathing pattern. They see you counting the “Pulse” and they don’t talk… and just breath normally.

Tricky, I know… but it always worked a treat.

The new machines changed the way nurses did their day to day activities and started to turn down their “Intuition”.

They would diligently record the machines findings, faithfully report the numbers to the Doctors… who then created a treatment regimen for the patient.

Sadly though, critical signs that would have been caught previously were missed.

For example, although the pulse rate was at the higher end of the normal range… it was weak and irregular. But the skin was also cold and clammy with a bluish tinge (a clear sign they didn’t have enough oxygen and may have been going into shock)

And the blood pressure may have been high… but the patient was anxious and dreading the blood pressure machine because it hurt their arm. Yet they were put on blood pressure lowering medication anyway.

Now, if you think this is just me reminiscing about my nursing days… then you’d be mistaken.

There is a CLEAR LINK to business and marketers who are easily distracted by bright shiny products designed to make their life “easier”… but actually cause them to talk their finger off the “Pulse of their Market.”

Which is important to know because…

Knowledge Nugget #67 – The Patient Could Be Stone Cold Dead Even If The Machine Shows A Heart Rate…

If you’ve ever been to hospital or watch a medical show… you may have seen a situation where a lead from a heart rate monitor falls off the patient… the machine alarms and the nurse comes running in to the room to check on the patient.

They see that the lead has fallen off, reconnects it… beep, beep.. and everyone lets out a sigh of relief!

But what you may not have seen is, the patient connected to every machine that goes ping (thanks Monty Python!)… the machines show signs of life, everything on the monitors looks great… but the patient is DEAD!

How does this happen?

Well, let’s dispel a myth… when you die, the electrical activity in your heart still shows a “Heartbeat”. So there isn’t always the “Flat Line” you see in the movies or on TV.

I see so many business owners and marketers become so absorbed with watching the “machines” and automated, time saving hacks… that they forget to keep their fingers on the pulse of their market.

The people who are their customers or clients.

The very people who hand over money and keep them in business.

And it’s a shame.

Because, like the patient showing convincing signs of life on a monitor… they are actually turning blue and it’s too late to do anything about it.

So a quick question for you… when was the last time you took your markets pulse?

When did you really look at how they are doing, what is important to them? Do you even know what they really need from you now?

Are you doing the quick observation round… the mandatory part of your daily routine that gets you what YOU need and gets you closer to home time?

Or are you talking to people as you go? Finding out what is important to them and what little things you could do to make life better for them. (E.g. top up their water, fluff up their pillows, put the TV remote closer to them etc.)

Until next week… be safe, take care and don’t be afraid to touch people : )

Pauline xxx

Pauline Longdon
a.k.a. “The Copy Alchemist”


P.S.  Some nurses love the automation of their tasks because it means they don’t get “stuck” talking to patients all day. And some business owners are the same way. It’s a shame that people lose sight of what business they’re really in. Patients, customers and clients are not an inconvenience… they are the very reason you have a job or business!


P.P.S.  So I have taken the pulse of my market and it’s about time I stepped up and offered a Mentoring/Coaching Program. It will start in the New Year and for the first round… I’ll make it as affordable as I possibly can. It won’t only be about copywriting… I’m planning to help you get past your biggest block and to start getting the results you want in your life (and deserve).

I have been doing “Reset Your Mindset” sessions for years now, and I think it’s time to add these to a results driven mentoring program. It won’t be for everyone… but if it could be right for you, let me know.


P.P.P.S.  In the Hospital Ward, when a monitor’s alarm goes off a BAD Nurse ignores it, a GOOD Nurse goes and checks on the monitor, a GREAT Nurse goes in and checks on the patient… And the BEST Nurse of all saw it was going to happen and prevented it because they were observing the patient closely anyway.

What kind of Nurse would you want looking after you? (This also applies to your business too!)

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