Chapter 21 – Physical Assessment – Importance for Nurses

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The importance of a thorough physical assessment for nurses cannot be overstated. By performing a complete physical examination, nurses establish the baseline of a patient’s medical diagnosis and presenting symptoms. Physical assessment also ensures the safety and security of a patient. The second-leading cause of sentinel events is an incorrect assessment of the patient’s condition. Performing complete physical assessments will allow nurses to pick up subtle signs of changes in the patient’s condition and may prevent incidents such as failure to rescue, falls, infection, or failure to treat.

Examining the entire body

Nursing care includes various methods of assessment. One of these methods is the physical examination. Nurses evaluate a patient’s condition by performing a physical examination. They may use an ultrasound to determine a patient’s size, contour, and symmetry. An ultrasound can also help identify organ size and shape. Nurses can also perform auscultation using an unaided ear or with the assistance of mechanical devices.

Nurses should develop a positive relationship with patients and be sensitive to the cultural needs of patients. By developing trust, patients are more likely do reveal information that they would otherwise not disclose to someone they will close themselves off to. To achieve this, they must provide a private, quiet environment for the patient to complete their history and physical examination. A classic physical examination begins with the head and proceeds through the body.

A nurse must know the difference between normal and abnormal findings. Abnormalities can be difficult to detect but can indicate problems with respiratory or musculoskeletal systems. In addition to visual observations, nurses also use the sense of touch to make accurate diagnoses. By palpating different parts of the body, a nurse can evaluate size and mobility. They can also identify tenderness. These methods are essential in assessing patient comfort and safety.

Performing a physical examination consists of several procedures. Nurses use four basic methods when performing a physical examination. The first method of examination involves sight and smell. Nurses examine various body parts for normal color, shape, and consistency. Once they determine that the patient is normal, they can perform a comprehensive physical examination. Once they know which areas of the body are healthy, they can determine what other procedures may need to be performed.

Using sight, sound, and smell

In the realm of physical assessment, nurses will learn to evaluate the patient through their senses. Physical assessment techniques include inspection, palpation, and auscultation. They will learn to perform a head-to-toe physical examination, beginning with an overall inspection to assess the patient’s condition and then focusing on the eyes, ears, and nose to gather information. In this way, nurses will be prepared for a variety of physical examination situations that could arise, including a patient’s medical history.

During a physical assessment, nurses should be able to determine the type of nursing care the patient needs. They should also ensure the safety of the client and contribute to the medical field by assessing the medical fitness of the client. This type of assessment involves a systematic visual examination that involves deliberate purposeful observation. It includes the ability to determine symmetry, size, and position. Using the sense of smell and hearing is also essential when performing this type of examination.

The physical assessment is not a complete work-up; nurses should focus on any extreme abnormalities, such as bleeding or damage to vital organs. Otherwise, the provider may order further diagnostics. The SBAR model bridges the gap between narrative and the SBAR approach. When using the SBAR approach, nurses can evaluate the patient’s physical condition and communicate with the healthcare team. They can also use the assessment findings to make recommendations for care.

Nurses can practice by watching example videos of assessments. For example, watch a video of a nurse performing a detailed head-to-toe assessment. The video will show you how to perform the assessment, including the steps involved, and the nurse explains the process. You can even ask the patient questions before touching them.

Assessing internal organs

The primary survey includes a nurse’s observation of the patient’s breathing, skin color, pulse, capillary refill time, and gas exchange. She also collects data on the client’s breathing and gas exchange to determine how well he or she is able to communicate. Additionally, she examines the patient’s internal organs. After the primary survey, she then conducts a secondary survey to determine the patient’s condition.

One of the most basic ways to determine the condition of an internal organ is to tap it against the patient’s body. Using the non-dominant hand’s middle finger, percussion can reveal the organ’s shape and size. It can also reveal whether it is fluid-filled or air-filled. If the organ is painful, it is best to apply deep pressure to determine if it’s bleeding or inflamed.

When palpating the abdomen, the nurse should listen to the heartbeat, and assess for any differences between the heart’s sound and the patient’s. Patients over the age of 12 should be positioned in the supine position, which is the most comfortable position for the patient. Other positions to evaluate the internal organs include the prone position, which allows for hip joint extension and skin and buttock flexion. The dorsal and lateral recumbent positions are recommended for the assessment of painful disorders or those involving the muscles.

During the primary assessment, the nurse uses a stethoscope on the patient’s bare skin to listen to the patient’s heartbeat, lungs, and abdominal functions. An additional examination involves the use of specific devices, including the tongue depressor. These tools help the nurse gather important information that can inform the patient’s health care plan. The final step is the documentation of the findings.

Documenting findings in the EMR

While physical assessments are an important part of the nursing process, they’re not always documented properly. Using the “next best” option instead of documenting the findings in the EHR can lead to miscommunication and clinical errors. Adding notes is a better way to capture vital information and avoid note bloat. This article explores some of the challenges and best practices for documentation. Here are three tips to help improve physical assessment documentation.

When you’re doing a physical assessment, you’ll want to document both subjective and objective data. Objective data can be collected from several sources, including patient reports. Subjective data should be documented in quotation marks. It’s best to start with a patient’s report when documenting subjective data. The key to collecting valuable subjective data is developing rapport. In addition to using quotation marks to show your findings, you’ll want to make sure you include any measurements or observations you took.

The timer data in the EHR is useful for tracking timers. You can use them to measure when you start and end documentation. The timer data was validated by video recording of sample nurses completing the forms. You can also compare the system timers with video recording timers to make sure the system is accurate. By using an EMR, you’ll have a clear documentation trail that can be used to defend yourself in a legal case.

Not recording bowel sounds can also lead to medical errors. For example, a harried nurse may miss a bowel sound during abdominal auscultation. Consequently, the patient may develop abdominal pain and vomiting. If this is the case, the nurse could be held legally responsible for the delayed treatment. Documentation is an essential nursing responsibility. It helps you plan care, communicate with other providers, and prove compliance with regulations. Ultimately, an improperly documented patient assessment can result in a professional liability lawsuit or even action against a nurse’s license.

Importance of conversation with the patient

A nurse’s job requires a great deal of communication skills. This includes the ability to listen carefully to a patient’s concerns and to ask questions that will help her explore those concerns. To be successful, she must speak clearly, avoid using jargon, and use familiar terms whenever possible. In addition, she must acknowledge each patient’s statement, even if it is not in agreement with it. This can be as simple as a question, such as “Does that sound right?”.

During the physical assessment, the nurse should start by getting to know the patient. This can be done by looking at their previous records and asking questions about their concerns. She should always show compassion and listen without judgment. She should ask about their concerns and beliefs. She should also ask about their goals in life and what motivates them. In addition, she should ask about any misconceptions or fears that the patient may have.

While open-ended questioning is beneficial in gathering general information, closed-ended questioning can be helpful in urgent situations. However, nurses should always be sure not to draw too many conclusions from short answers. The nurse should also make sure to acknowledge the patient’s response and encourage discussion with phrases. A great way to do this is by using appropriate intonations and phrases. They should also use body language to build connections with the patient and improve their overall experience of their visits.

When conducting a physical examination, the nurse should use several techniques to facilitate the conversation with the patient. One of the most important techniques is to ask the patient about their concerns. It is important for a nurse to understand how medical terminology affects their patients, as many patients feel embarrassed to ask for clarification. Inappropriately-phrased questions can lead to inaccurate data collection. Also, a patient who feels judged and attacked may respond in an angry or defensive manner and give incorrect information.

If patients end up not liking you, they will not share the information you need to do your job well and it could affect your job performance as a result. This is why building trust and rapport with the patient is key to effectively gathering data.

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