top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureJoshua S. Farquharson

Taking Height Measurements on a Physician Scale with Height Rod: Simple Techniques and Practice Activities to Improve Your Skills Quickly

Audience: Healthcare Students | Level: Beginner

healthcare worker taking a patient's height.

Introduction

Are you looking for answers to these questions?

  • How do I measure a person's height using a physician's scale height rod attachment?

  • How do I determine a patient's height using rods that have feet and inches or only inches?

  • How do I convert inches to feet and inches?

If so, you’re in the right place. This guide is not about learning the entire subject of body measurements. Instead, it focuses on a specific skill that many beginners find challenging—reading the height rod on a physician's mechanical beam scale to determine a person's height accurately.


Why Height Measurement Skills Matter

Measuring height is critical for monitoring growth and development, calculating Body Mass Index, and early detection of physical growth disorders. Knowing how to use the height rod is vital for accurately measuring a patient's height.


What You’ll Learn

Here are the new skills you’ll gain after completing this guide:

  • Height Rod Functionality: Identify the parts of the height rod and correctly place them to determine a person's height.

  • Interpreting Markings: Interpret the marks on the lower and upper rods and recognize how they differ from each other.

  • Height Measurements: Determine various height measurements by reading height rods correctly and learn how to calculate height measurements quickly.

Tips for Successfully Completing this Guide


  • Use headphones: Preferably in-ear headphones, for the videos and simulation activities.

  • Have a pencil and paper: Jot things down quickly if needed.

  • Find a quiet place: Free from distractions and turn off device notifications.

  • Take breaks: After each lesson, take a five-minute break. Stretch or walk to give your eyes a break from the screen.

  • Use a desktop computer or large display device: Access the content on a desktop or large display for the best experience.


Remember, go at your own pace and build your skills with the activities. Practice as often as necessary to master the skills. You are going to do great!


 

Height Rod Basics


Identifying the Parts of a Height Rod

We'll focus on the lower rod with the indicator line and the upper rod with the headpiece. Understanding these parts is crucial for accurate measurements.


Review the Parts of the Height Rod

Instructions: Complete the interaction below to to discover the parts of the height rod.



 

Correct Placement of the Headpiece

When the patient steps onto the platform, ensure the height rod’s headpiece lays flat on the patient's head. Incorrect placement can lead to inaccurate results. Review the following examples for incorrect and correct headpiece placement.


Example 1 Incorrect Headpiece Placement

The upper rod is too high, causing the headpiece to slant downward, resulting in a higher measurement.


headpiece placed incorrectly on patient's head.
Example of incorrect headpiece placement.
 

Example 2 Incorrect Headpiece Placement

The upper rod is too low, causing the headpiece to slant upward, resulting in a lower measurement.


headpiece placed incorrectly on patient's head.
Example of incorrect headpiece placement.

 

Example 3 Correct Headpiece Placement

The upper rod is correctly placed flat on the patient's head, leading to an accurate measurement.


headpiece placed correctly on patient's head.
Example of correct headpiece placement.
 

Interpreting the Marks on the Lower and Upper Rod

Marks on the Lower Rod

Now that you understand how the height rod works, we will now focus on interpreting the marks on the height rod beginning with the lower rod. The marks are commonly referred to as graduation marks, calibration marks, or hash marks.


Review the Marks on the Lower Rod

Instructions: Use the interaction below to learn how to interpret the marks on the lower rod.



 
Practice Activity: Interpreting the Marks on the Lower Rod

Instructions: Complete the activity to practice determining height measurements using the lower rod.


Tip: Pay attention to the top of the patient's head, the number of feet indicated on the rod, and the direction in which the numbers increase.



 

Upper and Lower Rod Comparison

In the previous activity, you practiced using the lower rod to determine height measurements. When measuring patients who are taller than the lower rod, you will use the upper rod to determine their height.  


Before you learn how to use the upper rod, let's make sure you to understand the difference between the upper and lower rod.


Review the Difference Between the Upper and Lower Rod

Instructions: Use the interaction below to discover the difference between the rods and how it impacts height measurements.



 

Determining Height Measurements Using Rods That Include Feet and Inches

Steps to Reading from the Indicator Line

Here we'll use the upper rod to determine a patient's height in feet and inches. Once the patient is on the platform with the headpiece correctly positioned flat on their head, read their height from the indicator line. You may need to hold the headpiece in place and ask the patient to step aside so you can view the indicator line clearly.


Review how to Read Height Measurements from the Indicator Line (Feet and Inches Provided on the Rod)

The context for this activity is that you have already positioned the height rod on the patient's head, they stepped aside, and now you can determine their height by reading from the indicator line clearly.


Instructions: Use the interaction below to learn how to read height measurements from the indicator line.



 

Practice Activity: Determining Height Using the Indicator Line (Feet included on Rod)

Instructions: Complete the activity to practice determining height measurements using the indicator line.



 

Determining Height Measurements WITHOUT the Number of Feet Indicated on the Rod


Converting Inches to Feet and Inches

Now we will examine a height rod that only has the number of inches displayed on the rod. Since the height rod does not provide the number of feet, you will need to convert the total number of inches to feet and inches. 


Multiples of 12

To perform the conversion, you must know the multiples of 12. For example, as you see in the table below, a height of 60 inches equals 5 feet. Since most people are less than 7 feet tall, it is a good idea to know up to 12 times 7. 


Review and memorize the factors in the table below.


Multiples of 12 up to 12 times 7. 12 x1=12, 12x2=24, 12x3=36, 12x4=48, 12x5=60, 12x6=72, 12x7=84

 
Practice Activity: Recalling Multiples of 12

This activity will help you quickly determine a patient's height using an inches-only height rod. Time to practice!


Instructions: Complete the activity to develop your speed with converting between feet and inches. Finish all questions within 5 minutes to prove your skills. You can do it!



 

Steps to Using the Indicator Line on Inches-Only Height Rods


Now let's use the multiples of 12 to determine a patient's height using an inches-only height rod.


Review Reading the Indicator Line on an Inches-Only Height Rod

Instructions: Complete the interaction to learn how to determine a patient's height using an inches-only height rod.



 
Practice Activity: Determining Height Using the Indicator Line on Inches-Only Height Rods

Instructions: Complete the interaction to practice reading and determining height measurements using an inches-only height rod.



 

Skills Assessment for Determining Height Measurements

It's time to confirm that you have mastered the essential skill of determining accurate height measurements. You put in the practice, so be confident. You're going to do great!


Instructions: Complete each question and select SUBMIT to confirm your answer.



 

Congratulations!

You've completed this guide. You are now well-equipped to accurately measure a person’s height using the height rod on a physician’s scale. Thank you for participating!

59 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page