Physical Assessment in Nursing Practice

Topic: Nursing
Words: 911 Pages: 3


Physical assessment involves the evaluation of anatomical findings through percussion, palpation, and observation. Physical assessment is the initial step of providing patient care, as they have to record their vital symptoms and signs before making the diagnosis (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2008). Physical assessment permits the healthcare practitioner to acquire a comprehensive patient assessment. According to Morrell et al. (2019), for the nurse to gather patient information, they employ various techniques such as percussion, palpation, and observation. To decide on the extent to which an assessment can be done, clinical judgment is also used in the decision-making process of the assessment. Learning healthcare courses provides insight into the basics of patient examination about their vital signs by employing various processes like palpation during physical assessment (AACN, 2008). The paper focuses on the physical assessment of acquired skills and the evaluation of nursing practices.

Assessment Process and Skills

For successful physical examination, nurses should offer relevant patient education reflecting developmental stages. During a physical examination, age and developmental stage are assessed to determine the level of growth and development (Lobelo et al., 2018). Psychological development is significant since nurses require incorporation of healthcare plans into plan of care based on age-related tasks (Morrell et al., 2019). It is the duty of nurses to recognize and report client deviations from required outcomes pertaining their growth and development and report deviations following care approaches and any modification therein.

Furthermore, similar to individual patients, families have their practices and beliefs, some of which are present regarding their culture or religious practices. Culture influences the nurse-patient relationship regarding illness and beliefs, resulting in effective physical examination (Morrell et al., 2021). Selection of treatment and monitoring plans by nurses is essential for professional practices. Recognition of relationship amid genetics of health and genomics, prevention, screening, and prevention. According to Jarvis (2018), the primary risks of diseases’ health conditions and medications applied to treat the illness have genetic and genomic elements affected by environment, lifestyle, and other factors. Therefore, nurses should have intimate knowledge of the patient’s family and communities’ perspectives and an understanding of biological underpinnings and public trust. Besides, nurses also refer patients at risk to appropriate healthcare professionals, which help people to benefit from genomic or genetic discoveries.

Patient support network is essential for promoting effective communication among healthcare team members. Jarvis (2018) states that to achieve the physical assessment, the first impression of a nurse is to communicate effectively with patients. A nurse should introduce herself and ask the name of family members present and their address, age, and other information. Should put the name and other important information in the medical record for assessment. Nurses should also assure patient privacy and confidentiality if the information is sensitive. This will lead to a successful physical assessment.

Creating safe care setting promotes patient outcomes and high quality deliveries. For a nurse to achieve a successful physical examination, they should provide a safe environment, which echoes compassion level and vigilance for the patient as an essential aspect of a skilled health care practitioner. The initial step for reducing medical errors’ risks entails understanding patient safety in nursing. Safety of the patient is paramount and is the source of preventing patient harm. Nurses should monitor patients’ safety in the hospital (Lobelo et al., 2018). A patient’s medical condition can vary instantly, and nurses must act promptly to recognize any arising implications. Nurses also monitor patient vitals effectively through access to new technologies in a healthcare setting. Patient education about post-discharge care is effective for maintaining patient care and health. Nurses working with patients to ensure the in-depth comprehension of their health condition and self-care routine before discharge helps facilitate a smooth recovery.

Monitoring results of clients and evaluating their effectiveness of psychological interventions. For a nurse to achieve the physical assessment, monitoring as a whole requires performance from the start of caregiving. It must end only when the illness is regarded as healed or upon discontinuation of care. Monitoring aspects include illness progression entailing the impact of medication on the disease, patient health status, and therapeutic side effects (Morrell et al., 2019). Depending on the type of illness, changes can worsen, get better, or disease recurs in the future. In addition, treatment of diseases can also lead to favorable results, and nurses are entitled to observe, measure, and count the frequency of psychological parameters, signs, and symptoms using their senses and simple measurement instruments. For symptoms, a nurse may query patients concerning their feeling and develop judgment for a treatment plan. Sometimes patients are enquired about their judgment depending on gross scales like severe, moderate, and mild symptoms. Monitoring for these symptoms assists nurses in realizing effective physical assessment.


In conclusion, the physical assessment process is considered unique for nurse practitioners because physicians require an understanding of the essentials of their interaction before making a diagnosis. Through physical assessment, nurses employ various processes that provide an in-depth understanding of a patient. Physical assessment is essential for helping the nurse successfully plan care appropriate for patient development and age and allowing modification of care depending on patients’ age-related traits and needs. Nurses must be experienced in acquiring inclusive family histories, ascertaining members at risk of acquiring a genomic influence condition, helping persons create up-to-date choices, and understanding the result of their genomic or genetic tests and therapies. Nurse acquire information from the patient, health care support system, and family members of the patient.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN]. (2008). The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. Washington, DC.

Jarvis, C. (2018). Physical examination and health assessment-Canadian e-book. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Lobelo, F., Rohm Young, D., Sallis, R., Garber, M. D., Billinger, S. A., Duperly, J.,… & Joy, E. A. (2018). Routine assessment and promotion of physical activity in healthcare settings: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 137(18), e495-e522.

Morrell, S., Giannotti, N., Pittman, G., & Mulcaster, A. (2021). Physical assessment skills taught in nursing curricula: A scoping review. JBI Evidence Synthesis, 19(11), 2929-2957.

Morrell, S., Ralph, J., Giannotti, N., Dayus, D., Dennison, S., & Bornais, J. (2019). Physical assessment skills in nursing curricula: A scoping review protocol. JBI Evidence Synthesis, 17(6), 1086-1091.

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