Temperature Rising

School of Nursing–Camden will pilot hyper-accurate, non-invasive thermometers

The COVID-19 pandemic created a demand for fast, accurate, and non-invasive temperature checks. Now, with many medical facilities continuing to require temperature screening as part of their health and safety protocols, Rutgers University in Camden will shape the future of temperature measurement with 900 state-of-the-art temporal artery thermometers donated by Exergen Corporation. The School of Nursing–Camden is a recipient of Exergen’s selective gifting program, which will allow nursing students and faculty to pilot this equipment during classes and clinical work

“This is a very generous gift from Exergen,” said Marie O’Toole, interim dean of the School of Nursing–Camden. “Our students will have practice in using the temporal artery thermometer accurately. We are excited to share our knowledge and experience with thought leaders and top hospitals throughout the region.”

Marie O’Toole, interim dean of the School of Nursing–Camden

Marie O’Toole, interim dean of the School of Nursing–Camden

While temperature checks are a routine part of any visit to a health care provider, the rise of communicable diseases like COVID-19 means professionals are monitoring patient temperatures more often than ever before. O’Toole said a fever indicates how a patient is responding to an event that affects the body’s immune system.

“Most fevers resolve themselves in a few days. When they do not, or when a fever is very high, the underlying cause must be addressed,” O’Toole said, noting that fevers can signify viral and bacterial infections that can lead to life-threatening emergencies, such as septic shock, seizures, or even brain damage.

Temporal artery thermometers are placed on the skin and utilize infrared technology to measure the temperature of the temporal artery in the forehead. Unlike traditional mercury thermometers, the Exergen thermometers are less likely to be affected by external factors such as sweating after exercise or the ambient temperature of the room.

Most importantly, O’Toole said, the thermometers are not intrusive—there is no need to insert them into an orifice to get a precise temperature reading. This is especially useful for taking the temperatures of children, who do not have to sit still for a long period of time. It may also reduce their anxiety over having a thermometer inserted into their ears or mouth.

While the research supports a high degree of accuracy, any equipment is apt to give inaccurate results if not used properly. O’Toole believes the gifting program will ensure that the next generation of nurse leaders knows how to use this technology correctly and is prepared to apply that knowledge in practice.

Creative Design: Douglas Shelton

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