There are four key vital signs that you will be checking on your patients: blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, and temperature. Vital signs are a part of your nursing assessment and are the key to detecting how your patient's body is coping with their illness. Is their blood pressure slightly lower now than it was before? Is their heart rate slightly faster? What do all of these numbers mean? Many hospitals have vital sign machines built into each patient room to be able to check vitals easily and efficiently.