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Health Assessment in Professional Nursing Practice

Master the skills to analyze the details in data collection and assess all aspects of a client’s general health.

To perform an effective health assessment, you will need to gather both subjective and objective data, complete a health history, incorporate cultural competence and cultural care, and use effective communication skills. In this course, you will improve your client interview techniques to ensure that you are able to get relevant information about your clients’ health.

You’ll see how your initial observation of a patient can indicate a range of issues, from chronic pain to intimate partner violence, mental health status, substance abuse, and more. You will then learn how to assess patient health by collecting subjective data, such as health history questions with rationale, as well as objective data. You’ll examine how to collect this information and how to distinguish between normal and abnormal findings in the various areas and systems of the body.

You’ll also learn ways to discuss and encourage health promotion with your patients regarding sun exposure, tobacco, cancer risk, breast self-examination, stroke prevention, and foot care.

As part of this course’s lab requirement, you’ll complete a Critical Skills Competency exercise by performing a “live” demonstration of your physical assessment skills via webcam.

Sample Topics

  • Health History, Evidence-Based Assessment, and Culture
  • General Survey, Pain, Mental Status, Domestic Violence, and Substance Abuse
  • Skin, Hair, and Nails; Head, Face, and Neck
  • Eyes, Ears, Nose, Mouth, Throat
  • Heart, Lungs, Breast, and Lymphatic System
  • Abdomen, Male and Female Genitourinary System, Anus, Rectum, and Prostate
  • Peripheral Vascular, Musculoskeletal, and Neurologic Systems
  • Putting It All Together

Sample Assignment

You’ll perform a cultural assessment on an individual from a different culture and present the findings to your classmates in a PowerPoint presentation.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Gain insight into ways to integrate a variety of assessments into a whole picture of patient health.
  2. Link the interrelationship among concepts of health assessment and nursing practice as supported by the Nurse Practice Act and ANA standards of practice.
  3. Correlate the nursing process to health assessment performance as a systematic approach to assess individuals across the lifespan.
  4. Apply anatomical, physiological, and psychological factors to gather and interpret health assessment data.
  5. Incorporate ethical, legal, and professional considerations when conducting a nursing health assessment for individuals from global populations.
  6. Summarize special issues related to age, cultural, socioeconomic, and environmental factors that may impact the individual when conducting a health history and physical exam.
  7. Integrate reliable, evidence-based research that defines the use of physical assessment skills evident in general nursing practice.
  8. Demonstrate foundational techniques of the exam modalities: inspection, auscultation, percussion, and palpation needed to conduct a physical exam structured by body systems.
  9. Implement principles of infection control, safety, and privacy in order to provide quality care while gathering assessment data during the physical exam.
  10. Utilize effective interviewing and communication strategies demonstrating cultural humility within the professional role when conducting a health history and performing a physical exam for patients/clients from diverse cultures.

Programs that include this course