CNA Skills – Taking Rectal Temperature

CNA Skills – Rectal Temperature to measure body temperature per rectum.

The purpose of taking the rectal temperature is to observe and record accurately the patient’s temperature and to observe general condition of the patient.


Key Points

1. Lubricate the mercury bulb and an area one inch above the bulb Lubrication reduces friction and thereby facilitates insertion of the thermometer and minimizes irritation of the mucous membrane of the anal canal
2. Turn adult patient on his side in a comfortable position. If child, place on his back. Separate the fold of the buttocks so that the anal sphincter is seen clearly. Insert the thermometer 1 ½ inches, permit buttocks to fall in place The bulb of the thermometer may injure the sphincter, or hemorrhoid if present, if not placed directly into the anal opening
3. Leave the thermometer in place for 2-3 minutes. Hold the thermometer in place if patient is irritated or a child To allow sufficient time for the thermometer to register in a more accurate measurement of body temperature
4. Remove the thermometer and wipe it once from the fingers to the mercury bulb, using a firm twisting motion Fecal matter and lubricant on the thermometer may make reading difficult to minimize infection


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